Sheffield Council concedes it failed in its equality duty with no-limit strip club policy

Spearmint RhinoSpearmint Rhino
Spearmint Rhino
Sheffield Council have conceded they did not consider the impact upon the entire community when they chose not to limit the number of strip clubs in the city.

During a judicial review at Leeds High Court yesterday, the local authority agreed it had failed in its Public Sector Equality Duty to consider the impact its no-limit policy on strip clubs would have on 'all women'.

The council also agreed it had not taken its own public consultation into consideration when agreeing to the policy.

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It is also thought the case could have national significance if it proves to affect the way councils across the country choose to license their adult entertainment venues.

The legal challenge, which scrutinises the lawfulness of the council's decision not to limit the number of strip clubs, was mounted by a 54-year-old Sheffield grandmother, using the pseudonym 'Irene',

It has been backed by several campaign groups including the Sheffield branch of the Women’s Equality Party.

Charlotte Mead, branch leader of the Sheffield Women's Equality Party said: “This is a fantastic result which has implications for councils around the country when they draw up their policies on sexual entertainment venues. It will help other councils to get it right and to fully consider the impact these venues have on all women.

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"As a result of this judicial review we hope more communities will feel empowered to voice their concerns about these clubs and that councils will take their concerns seriously.”

Sheffield City Council have been contacted for comment.

They told The Guardian yesterday: “We understand that we could have been clearer about how the consultation had affected our final policy. We welcome the feedback from the court and are committed to re-running the consultation, including a new equality impact assessment. We really hope all those with an interest in this area will take the opportunity to have their say, as we work to get the right policy for Sheffield.”

A draft council report published in December 2016 recommended there should be a a limit of two strip clubs in the city.

But after further consultation the 'two-club limit' was replaced and a council report last year said the new policy 'does not specify any limit on sex establishments'.

There are currently two premises which operate under the licences in question in Sheffield - Spearmint Rhino lapdancing bar in the city centre and the La Chambre club in Attercliffe.