Sheffield Council's sex venue policy branded 'prudish and anti-business'

La Chambre in Attercliffe.
La Chambre in Attercliffe.
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Sheffield Council has been labelled 'prudish and anti-business' for proposing limits on the number of strip clubs and sex shops in the city.

The authority is considering a new sex establishment policy, which would restrict the number of sexual entertainment venues within city boundaries to two.

Spearmint Rhino.

Spearmint Rhino.

This limit is already filled, with Spearmint Rhino lapdancing bar in the city centre and La Chambre swingers club in Attercliffe.

The policy also restricts the number of sex shops to one per council ward.

The authority says the aim is to make Sheffield a safe city.

But Liberal Democrat councillors say the policy is unnecessarily restrictive.

A sex shop in Attercliffe.

A sex shop in Attercliffe.

Coun Joe Otten said: “The true purpose of licensing is to make sure that potentially risky activities are conducted in a safe and responsible way; not to make moral judgements.

"These proposals by Labour would appear to be doing the opposite.

"Limiting the total number of licensable sexual entertainment venues in the city is not only prudish and anti-business; it also risks the safety of the mostly young women who choose to make a living by working in these establishments by driving perfectly legal activities underground and away from regulation.”

Spearmint Rhino's application to renew the licence for its club in Brown Street will be considered by councillors next week. Ninety-eight people have objected, while 16 people wrote in support of the club.

Read more:

Sheffield's 'hard-working and professional' lapdancers hit back at Spearmint Rhino objecters

The council's cabinet member for the environment said officers wanted to set limits on sex establishments to ensure Sheffield remained a safe place.

"Local authorities are permitted to set a limit - even if that limit is nil," he said.

"As part of the process of drafting our new policy, the council’s licensing service has undertaken a three-stage consultation process and received a lot of feedback.

"This feedback involved many comments from the public and equality groups, which was considered, and as a result, officers are proposing to set limits on the numbers of various types of sex establishments in the city.

"This stance is similar to that of many other local authorities around the country. The proposed policy will go before the licensing committee in the near future.”

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