Sex clubs will face automatic ban in Rotherham from next summer
A stringent new council policy will effectively leave strip clubs unable to operate throughout Rotherham within the space of a year.
Existing venues must legally be given a grace period of 12 months but must then re-apply for a licence – something they are unlikely to be awarded because of a new “presumption” from the council that there are no suitable venues within the borough.
The zero-tolerance policy has been introduced by the council’s ruling Cabinet, following extensive consultations in the area and means sexual entertainment venues, such as strip clubs, will not be licenced in future.
That decision was taken as a result of feedback from residents, with a large majority telling the council they believed there were no suitable venues anywhere.
The same rule would apply to applications to open a sex cinema, though none exist in the town at present, but sex shops will be allowed to operate in future provided they are located on industrial areas, away from children.
Rotherham Council’s legal advisor Tom Smith told Cabinet members: “The policy makes a presumption against lap dancing establishments because the consultation has clearly set out there are a number of sensitive locations where we would not feel these premises were appropriately located.
“When you apply that to the borough, it is clear there is nowhere where you locate one that would not be in proximity to a sensitive location.
“Legally, people can still apply to open such establishments but the presumption is they would not get a licence,” he said.
Coun Emma Hoddinott told the meeting consultation had revealed problems with inequalities and exploitation among those with experience of working in such clubs, as well as concerns from residents.