Council passes tough Barking and Dagenham strip clubs rules
PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:55 25 November 2019
Councillors have voted to effectively ban strip clubs in Barking and Dagenham after giving new licensing rules the thumbs up.
At a town hall meeting on Wednesday, November 20 council chiefs set the "appropriate number" of sex establishments to zero as they voted in favour of new guidance for "sex entertainment venues" including strip clubs.
"We are dealing with establishments that are very difficult to regulate," said housing lead, Cllr Cameron Geddes, as he presented the policy, which stops strip clubs and similar businesses opening near schools, hospitals and places of worship.
Cllr Geddes added that he could not think of a single place where strip clubs would be allowed to open because the list of banned locations was so long.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, leader of the local authority, said: "There is no excuse for any type of establishment that will denigrate women - or men for that matter - in a way that these establishments do.
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"[The issue] came to our attention when a pub asked for a 4.30am licence for belly dancing. I'm not aware of anywhere where you would go to at 4.30 for belly dancing classes.
"I would like to thank all the council officers for doing the work they did, but also to all the residents that backed this council's position in making sure that people are not exploited anywhere in Barking and Dagenham when it comes to the sex trade.
"We will make no apologies for anyone. If that is your titillation, I suggest you go to other parts London."
While the council will still look at applications for licences on their merits, the policy says they will only be granted in "exceptional circumstances".
It goes on to say: "The ability of an applicant to demonstrate that they are of good character and could provide a high standard of management will not alone constitute exceptional circumstances."
The council approved the policy after consulting the public this summer.
In total, 72 per cent of people who took part supported blocking strip clubs from opening in the borough while 90pc backed forcing establishments to get a licence from the council if they wanted to.