Sheffield councillors renew Spearmint Rhino licence despite objections

A Sheffield lap dancing club has successfully renewed its licence to operate despite 70 objections.

Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 3:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 3:51 pm
Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen's Club on Brown Street, Sheffield

Sheffield city councillors granted Spearmint Rhino’s application to renew its sexual entertainment venue licence at a meeting on Monday.

The city centre club in Brown Street, across the road from Sheffield Hallam University’s students union, was first granted its licence in 2012 after new licensing rules came in. At the time 56 people objected, and this time round the number was 70.

Among those to express their concerns were campaigners in the Zero Option group. One, Rosalind Wollen, said: “A sexual entertainment venue in the heart of the city, or anywhere in the city, is simply completely contradictory to everything that the council says it stands for, everything that the council should stand for, and has a duty to work towards.”

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Another, Dr Debjani Chatterjee, MBE, said: “I object because its activities are sexist and demeaning to women. Having such an establishment, especially in Sheffield’s cultural industries quarter, gives entirely the wrong message about Sheffield.

“I hope we are a cultural city and a city where we value equality and respect women. Women are not sexual objects. So places like Spearmint Rhino are a disgrace and have no place in our city.”

And Pat Moreton, chairman of Women in Engineering, Science and Technology said: “As an organisation that works with young women from the UTC, Sheffield College and students at the Sheffield Hallam University we see this as not an acceptable place for such an explicit sexual entertainments venue.”

Four people wrote in support of the application. Dr Hannah Boast, associate tutor at the University of York, said: “I live less than five minutes’ walk from Spearmint Rhino and have never been bothered by its clientele. I do not feel nervous in the proximity of the venue and do not take different routes to avoid walking past it during the day or late at night.

“I have suffered harassment, groping and sexual threats in Sheffield, but not in the area surrounding Spearmint Rhino. I have been involved in feminist activism in Sheffield for many years and do not feel that the existence of the venue has a negative impact on women and non-binary people in the city.”

The licence allows the club to offer lap dancing, pole dancing and strip tease.