Invisible strip clubs

Spearmint Rhino
Spearmint Rhino
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Further to my letter in The Telegraph on April 27, questioning the basis for Sheffield Licensing Committee’s decision to renew a sexual entertainment venue licence for Spearmint Rhino strip club, my point about the duping of women and others who already use or may wish to visit the Cultural Industries Quarter, where the club is sited, not only involves the committee’s erroneous insistence that the strip club is not visible from the Showroom cinema, which anyone who actually knows the area will be able to rebut, but also refers to a condition imposed by the committee that the club’s external signage should be removed during the day.

The Determination Notice, issued on April 20, explaining the licensing decision said this was in response to a local church using the Workstation having complained that it felt unable to use the public space opposite the Workstation and next to the club and was done “… so that children and young adults will not be able to identify the premises whilst it is closed during the day”. The Notice also commented on the many objections from local women who said they felt threatened and unsafe walking past the strip club and that it triggered memories of past events for them. The Notice claims that removing external signage during the day will mean that “The premises will now be essentially ‘invisible’ during the day…”

Why does the Licensing Committee think people’s valid concerns are appropriately addressed by such superficial measures?

When children using the public space opposite the Workstation ask what the big black building is adjacent to that space what should parents say? People still have to walk past it. The signs will be back in place whenever the club chooses to open outside of daytime hours, which has not been specified in the licence, and its licence permits it to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Is the Licensing Committee trying to fool women and others including potential Sheffield Hallam University students, local residents and prospective businesses into thinking the strip club is no longer there because external signage is removed during the day?

Women’s fears of violence and actual experience of male violence are no less real because signs are removed. The underlying problem is not with the signage per se, it is in what it signifies. Strip clubs perpetuate an outdated and dangerous view of women as sex objects that can be bought. This leads to a dehumanising view of women and makes it easier for men to behave violently towards women.

In licensing a strip club Sheffield Council is endorsing this view. The recent report in The Star about a dancer who was attacked by a punter outside the South Yorkshire strip club she performs at after he had pestered her for sex while in the club says it all.

Come on Sheffield Council, stop pulling the wool over people’s eyes: no amount of conditions can mask the inherent gender inequality of strip clubs.

It might be too late to influence Spearmint Rhino’s licence this year but the council is currently reviewing its sex establishment venue policy and has the legal option of setting a cap of zero for the number of strip and lap dancing clubs it will allow: not to do so flies in the face of natural justice.

Dr Judith Dodds

Rossington Road, Sheffield, S11

Why do women do it?

What is B Wilkinson talking about women having standards?

If they work in a strip club do they really have standards at all? I don’t think so.

Why do women do it, simply to show their bodies off?

I would therefore say to B Wilkinson if it is humiliating don’t do it.

Lee Johnson

by email

Stick Health & Safety

What a great achievement by Sheffield United, 100 points in the bag and quite rightly promotion to the Championship.

The game against Chesterfield was the icing on the cake, not a great match but the fans didn’t care, they were being carried along on the excitement that was being generated by the 31,000 crowd.

Children couldn’t wait to see their heroes, flags were bought for them to wave but why did the United stewards take the flags off the youngsters and remove the short stick from the flags, thus stopping the little fans from showing their favour?

Just how can you wave a flag without a stick, come on United an explanation is needed, don’t quote “In the interest of health and safety etc” Balderdash sirrah! they were children, what did you think they were going to do? Run on the pitch and stab the players or their fellow fans.

I did see Victor Meldrew at the match and he “Couldn’t Believe It”. The young fans need some kind of apology from the board or give them a tour of the ground.

Health and Safety, bah, humbug!

The Red ’n’ White Green Giant and Mr Dawson

by email

What more could we ask?

Hello there Pete Godfrey and Chris Gee, Sheffield United have done the unthinkable – 100 points, (a few more than 63), automatic promotion as champions well before the end of the season. What more could we ask?

All achieved by sheer guts and hard work by Chris Wilder and the lads even though they gave other teams a five-match start.

They have survived biased local and national press coverage and little TV but have come up roses.

Well done to all involved. Just hope we get Ched Evans back to play for us next season.



Not private any more

I would like know, are we allowed to vote without a polling card?

Because so far Sheffield Labour council hasn’t issued polling cards so far and we’re due to vote next month.

And I used to believe this was a free country but not any more.

As soon has you get your voting slip there’s a number on it and it is put at the side of your name so everyone knows who you are voting for.

Nothing’s private anymore.

Kevin Haywood

Sewell Road, Halfway, Sheffield, S20

Stem the tide of litter

If the Council has paid off the Student Games infrastructure debt by 2024, (Terry Tiller, Letter, May 1), will the £28 million freed up be used to stem the tide of litter which is overwhelming us in South Yorkshire?

I doubt it very much.