Art gallery opposing strip club’s licence bid

rhinoram'John Specht, vice president of Spearmint Rhino strip club
rhinoram'John Specht, vice president of Spearmint Rhino strip club
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AN ART gallery boss has opposed an application from a strip club for a new licence, saying it is not an approriate venue in an area which is a ‘hub for young people’.

Spearmint Rhino on Brown Street in Sheffield city centre is one of a number of venues which must now obtain a sexual entertainment licence from Sheffield Council.

A change in licensing rules means the club and others, including La Chambre club in Attercliffe, must seek new licences.

The deadline for comments about Spearmint Rhino’s applications expired yesterday with one of the main objections to the bid coming from the neighbouring Site Gallery, which is on Brown Street. Comments about La Chambre must be received by next week.

Laura Sillars, Site Gallery’s artistic director, said: “Over the last few years the educational work within the area has increased and it is now a hub for young people.

“We no longer believe that having a strip club in the centre of the area is appropriate. For this area to develop into the future as a thriving area drawing inward investment and supporting the production of world class artistic product, the quality of the area needs to be protected.”

In total, 30 objections have been made against Spearmint Rhino’s application.

But John Specht, vice president of Spearmint Rhino, said: “It’s the first I’ve heard about any objection from the gallery.

“I support greater regulation, such as the licences, because it means operators who do not run venues safely give gentleman’s clubs a bad name, but the fees, coupled with the cost of lawyers, have ended up being astronomical.”

The new licence fees mean venues must pay an initial £1,335, annual renewal fees of £1,000 and levies of £1,000 to vary licences or £500 to transfer them.

Spearmint Rhino is on the look-out for 10 of Sheffield’s women to take part in a national competition to discover ‘the best English rose’. Mr Specht said: “We are running a company-wide promotion and want to find 10 of the best girls from each area we have a club, including Sheffield.

“They will then be put into a national competition to find the best English Rose.”