Sex Establishments

On Friday the Misc Licensing Committee met. On its Agenda was a Change to the Policy under the Licensing Act 2003 on what would be classed as a Sex Establishment. They changes cover 3 parts. Sex Cinemas, Sex Shops and Lap Dancing Clubs. Cornwall does not have any Sex Cinemas, so there will be no change there.

As for Sex Shops (not to be confused as brothels), Cornwall only has one and from what I am told by the Authority this is well run and without incident. As for Lap Dancing Clubs there are a few in Cornwall. 2 of them are located in Newquay. Those in Newquay have attracted a lot of attention over the last few months. I guess it all depends on your moral outlook on this subject. You either think these are totally wrong, or have a place as long as they are heavily regulated to protect the workers.

The full report is here (Agenda)

It was to the credit that the Committee did not just blindly accept this change in Policy. They wanted to make sure that this Policy was fit for purpose and right for Cornwall. To many times in the past rural Authorities have just adopted something that is more suited to a metropolitan area.

This Committee will now be looking into this at length. Not saying they won’t accepted this Policy, but from what I heard the Committee wanted to make sure it was right. They have come from intense pressure from those in the Community who are so against these establishments. I got the feeling that the objections on this are purely from the moral aspect.

21 comments

  • Anonymous

    This is not a moral crusade despite reports to the contrary by those with vested interests. The Miscellaneous Licensing Committee had agreed at the meeting of November 13th to adopt this new legislation.

    The Committee do not have an obligation to form an opinion on lap dancing or sex shops (moral or otherwise). They have a duty to adopt the legislation as it gives more power to the Council to regulate premises and more power to residents to object on wider grounds to the clubs in their area.

    The industry has had plenty of time to find a way of diversifying or attracting another type of business. The new legislation does not affect the premises right to sell alcohol. Those in the licensing trade will not lose their jobs. The lap-dancers have been and always will be self-employed. The dancers in all lap-dancing clubs have to pay a fee to go to work. In Newquay that starts at £50. If a local woman wishes to work in one of these establishments five nights a week therefore, she has to find £1,000 out of her own pocket in order to simply go to work. Any money she earns after that, the club owners also take a percentage.

    The reality of lap-dancing has been well documented.

    There also needs to be an inquiry into why the council turned a committee meeting into a public consultation meeting.

  • Anonymous

    Firstly, very interested in how you "got the feeling that the objections on this are purely from the moral aspect" when the only people invited to speak were the club owners. Sometimes it is very difficult to separate morality from common sense. These lap dancing clubs are on the High Street and therefore have an impact on the whole town. As an ex guest house owner I have had constantly to excuse these clubs (and by association the town) to disappointed families and all main stream tourists who do not want to be confronted by these establishments when on holiday.
    On another common sense issue – is it a moral argument when you say you do not want your under age children to watch an '18' rated film? I do not want my children to have to walk past these clubs and yet their location makes them unavoidable – something the new legislation takes into consideration. This is not morality as such but – I do not think that they promote an equality between men and women or a healthy attitude towards sex.
    Best wishes (never know how to sign these things off!)
    Suzi

  • Cllr Andrew Wallis

    I am not a Member of this Committee and just sat at the back, but with my Vice-Chair of the Licensing Act Committee I have am aware of the feelings on this.

    I lived in Europe a long time ago where legalised Brothels were in like locations as are some of these Clubs are situated. The local population just ignored them.

    I am open minded on most items, and never judgemental on others view points.

    Again, this blog is on how I see and feel things and not a corporate view point.

  • Anonymous

    Historically, lots of bad things have been ignored….until they got WORSE

  • Steve Slade

    From Steve Slade

    As with all the issues in town, its a case of adopting a responsible and sustainable tourist industry. A visit to Newquay has to be a positive experience, as does living here. The locals have to be responsible for their actions and so do the businesses who bring people to the town and entertain them when they are here.

    Lap dancing clubs have now been classed as Sexual encounter Establishments. The question is whether the town and importantly the image of the town is a more responsible and inclusive destination by providing that service to some of its visitors and does the presence of that service make a visit to Newquay a more positive experience. We have to be as inclusive as possible but we have to try to consider any negative impact they have on the town.

    It's great that this debate is taking place and we are now all thinking of the implications of what services the town provides. It's a problem that Cornwall Council are having to deal with now.Whatever decision they come to, I hope they stop seeing Newquay as a separate entity from the rest of the county. They should bear in mind, if they feel lap dancing is a responible service to provide, they should also allow it to be provided in Padstow, Fowey, St Ives Falmouth etc.

  • Anonymous

    Andrew – were these brothels situated in the High Street of small towns and are you suggesting lap dancing clubs are brothels?
    Suzi

  • Anonymous

    I am not sure that the club owners will thank you for the comparison with brothels. Sex is not for sale in lap-dancing clubs.

    Reclassifying lap-dancing clubs as Sexual Encounter Venues also does not permit the selling of sex inside lap-dancing clubs.

    The Government, by reclassifying the category that the premises are licensed under are not being 'judgemental'.

  • Anonymous

    It is very disappointing that you seem to think that this is a moral issue. The impact of lap dancing clubs on men and women who work and live in their vicinity is well documented. I am not sure when violence, harrassment and gender equality became NOT moral issues.

    One of the big problems with the clubs in Newquay is their very visible presence on the high street. Visitors and residents cannot get away from them if they want to visit the town centre in the evening. There are also promotions girls who are employed by the clubs through agencies who approach men in the street unsolicited. This means that you cannot get away from the commercial sex industry in Newquay unless you choose to stay away from the town centre.

    The "it's a moral issue" view conveniently ignores the wider impact that lap dancing clubs have on how gender equality. By making these clubs so accessible and visible, they adopt an air of acceptability and normality. Why is it acceptable and normal to pay a girl/woman to grind naked on your lap in a club when most men wouldn't think to pay a girl/woman to do this in their home? Somehow that would be unacceptable but if it's in club with the words "Gentlemen's Club" in big letters across the entrance, paying a girl to grind naked on your crotch becomes just another leisure activity!

    In one report, carried out by an ex stripper, 18 strippers were interviewed in various clubs across the UK (Holsopple report), all 18 strippers reported having been sexually assaulted by customers whilst they were "at work". No complaint was ever pursued against the perpetrators. Why is a job in which women pay to go to work and run the risk of being sexually assaulted on a daily basis deemed to be a "moral issue"?

    This is a social problem and it affects men just as much as it affects women. We are teaching young men that they can "buy" a woman's body for the same price as a few drinks; that this woman is a commodity that they can pick and choose in a club as long as they have the cash.

    To dismiss this as a moral issue is naive at best. Please do some reading up on the subject. There is plenty of material out there on the harmful effect that lap dancing clubs have (why else would Amnesty UK have featured it on its website for the whole of 2009?) and I think some education is needed here!

    At the very least please listen to the groundswell of opinion in Newquay. Residents have been complaining about this and being ignored for far too long.

    There's an election coming up – time to start listening to the electorate perhaps?

  • Anonymous

    I wondered what you meant exactly by 'purely from the moral aspect'? As a mother of a boy I would not want him to grow up thinking that women's bodies were commodoties to be rented by the half hour, that is more to do with justice and equality than morality or some kind of prudishness, I feel. B.

  • Audra Thewlis

    For God's sake!!!! It has nothing to do with a moral crusade.Thats the easiest thing to blame it on.The women must be jealous of the pretty ladies taking their clothes off for money.I dont think so.the reason i dont want a lap dancing club in my town is because of the total and utter dross that it attracts.My daughter was verbally abused by some sexually aroused idiots that came piling out of one of the clubs.We need to get the families back and these drunken louts out!!!!!

  • Audra Thewlis

    Another comment,sorry.I moved my family down here away from things like this.I lived in Leeds,now Leeds is big enough to hold places like this.Newquay isnt.I dont feel safe walking through Newquay on an evening.Not only that but these clubs were blatantly breaking the rules.The only people making money are the club owners.If these are the sort of tourists Newquay council want to attract then go ahead open a few more!

  • Anonymous

    The objections people have to lap-dancing clubs are 'moral' in the same way that their objection to violence or theft is. That is, they have a problem with things that damage and harm the community.

    "I guess it all depends on your moral outlook on this subject."

    What?! That's a nonsensical statement since the 'it' which depends on your moral outlook is your moral outlook!! Duh!

    That is a perfect illustration of how you've bought, whether through genuine credulity, corruption, or a sparkling cocktail of the two, the 'corporate line', which is that people either have an open minded and nuanced opinion on this issue(ie agree with them) or else their objections are merely the result of an unthinking reactionary 'morality'.

    But of course people's objections are nothing of the sort, rather, they are based on an awareness of, where not a direct experience of, the various and very real harms caused by these establishments. Simple as that.

    It's all too clear that the Committee are very friendly with the owners, and, despite the support of the local rag, my understanding of popular feeling is that people can smell the stench of the s**t going on for miles around.

    Why not be a councillor we can be proud of, why not champion your people, not schmoozing self serving business interests

  • manda

    Adopting this legislation gives more power to the local community and the council when considering factors such as the siting of these clubs, In the high street of our small town is not an appropriate setting. To me the comparison to brothels is appropriate but in most countries where they are legal,they are sited on the outskirts of town often in industrial estates where those who do not want to see or use them are not confronted on a daily basis.There is nothing wrong with taking a moral stance,particularly regarding the protection of children.

  • Anonymous

    The sex industry in all it's many guises is predicated on the notion that a woman's body is a commodity. The sex industry oppresses women. Fact. Lap dancing is part of the sex industry & therefore, oppresses women.

    Any industry that markets women as sex objects & in which the working practices of many clubs implicitly encourage men to expect & seek sexual services is part of the sex industry & not the
    leisure industry.

    The fact that we are bombarded with sexist images of women in poses which stem from pornography, depicting women as always up for sex, no matter what, cannot be disconnected from endemic violence against women, low conviction rates & the fact that the majority of people still think that women are at least partly to blame if they are sexually assaulted (Amnesty International, Sexual Assault Research 2005).

    Lap dancing clubs encourage their customers & society generally to see women as sex objects. They reinforce the idea that women are always sexually available, as long as you’ve got a bit of cash to spare.

    The objection has nothing to do with morals. It is a political response to a political issue. (And to be told otherwise, by a counsellor who can't even be bothered to get his copy edited, is a double insult.)

    Carol Lovekin

  • J Sheek

    Since "Moral" has become a dirty word, let us instead consider the ethics of licensing sex encounter establishments.
    Is it ethical for one half of the population to objectify the other half?
    Is it ethical for areas of a town to be no go areas for women after dark?
    Is it ethical to sell sexual arousal and then for those sexually aroused (and usually drunk and in groups) young men to be tipped out onto the streets?
    Do you have no understanding of the relationship between the legal and illegal sex trade? What about the ethics of women being trafficked into the sex industry? Sadly the local authority "care" system does not provide enough damaged girls to satisfy demand.
    Do you have children? Did they have to walk past lapdance clubs or brothels and ask what goes on there?
    What about the evidence showing the link between pornography and violence against women? A naked woman gyrating in your lap with the sole aim of arousing you sexually amounts to the strongest possible pornography.
    What possible justification can there be for denying local communities a greater say on the location and number of these establishments?

  • Anonymous

    isn't it better to know where these places are? and as far as i'm aware they dont open till late at night, wouldnt young children be in bed by then? as long as the place is safe and the girls are earning good money i don't see the problem.when they start advertising using naked ladies at lunchtime in the street i might get concerned.

  • Anonymous

    As long as the place is safe…..12 out of 17 dancers interviewed for a local lap dancing club admitted that they had been sexually assaulted whilst at work. These sexual assaults do not get reported. The bouncers in the clubs deal with them. The girls are self employed and have no employment rights. The clubs have still got their money from the girls dancing and the punter paying. This is not safe.

    Dancers do not earn good money. The club owners earn good money from the girls. Of course girls and women choose to do this for a living as Cornwall is one of the most economically deprived areas of the country, and for many, they have no other choice.

    Placing the sex industry on the high street leads to the normalisation of seeing women and girls as commodities. It tells boys that it is ok to treat women in this way and it tells girls that it is ok to be treated this way. The premises do not need to be open to have an impact. To believe otherwise, is to minimise the harm.

    It is exactly because of this blatant attempt to normalise the sex industry by placing sexual entertainment venues on the high street, that the government have changed the law. Locations such as next to high street shops and near to family beaches are totally inappropriate. It is anticipated by the Government that those in inappropriate locations will close.

    Of course the new law is not compulsory and that creates the situation we see here. The council are still open to bullying and coercion by the industry.

  • Anonymous

    As a mother and a self employed woman and resident of Newquay I am not comfortable with a council who condones the objectification and expoitaion of females, in an area that I and my son live and travel and work…..it is offensive and unacceptable to me, to have this type of gender expolitative industry operating with the approbation of my town councillors.. I don't want my son to grow up exposed to explotive sex trade as the norm….

  • Iona Manley

    Hello Andrew…
    The point, (as far as I can tell), with the new legislation, is that it will give the residents of Newquay, and any other Cornish town, (including business-residents), more rights to object to licenses being granted for lap dancing clubs.
    Why on earth wouldn't Cornwall Council, or any other council for that matter, NOT want to adopt it??? It simply gives the people more say about their environment, and what they want for their environment….and in a democracy, what justification would our councils possibly have for NOT adopting a law that simply gives us more say?

  • Anonymous

    Would the person who posted anonymously on the 29th April thats 'it's all too clear that the Committee are friendly with the owners' like to provide proof of this fact please.

  • Anonymous

    As a County Councillor you should know the difference between morals and ethics. One is about personal behaviour choices and is often linked with religions/faiths. The law around lap dancing clubs specifically excludes any moral approach pro or anti. Ethics are about human rights and equity. Lap dancing clubs are shown to have disproportionately adverse effects on girls and women – those who pay to be taken on as dancers and those who live nearby and feel their safety and freedom of public movement is compromised.
    Show some intellidence please Councillor.
    Oh, and I've heard that you've refused to publish other women's factual comments.
    Please don't refuse to publish this one.

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