Second lap-dance club for York

COUNCILLORS are to decide whether a second lap-dancing club should be allowed in York city centre.

A “sexual entertainment” application has been submitted to City of York Council for the first floor of Tokyo nightclub in Toft Green.

York has only one lap-dancing club, Upstairs, situated above Mansion nightclub in Micklegate.

Bohemia, which was further up the street, closed down last year.

Micklegate councillor Julie Gunnell said she had grave concerns about the new proposal and was pleased objections had been raised so it would go to a hearing.

“I personally do not want to see any more lap dancing clubs in the city, as it’s a family friendly city and this isn’t part of the image it wants to market,” she said.

Kay Hyde, of the tourism organisation Visit York, said the majority of York’s visitors came for the his - tory, shopping, heritage and fantastic range of visitor attractions.

“This new proposal isn’t going to have broad-based appeal and single sex groups are not our target market,” she said.

“Our priorities for York are to see new evening entertainment options which appeal to the city’s key target audiences, such as Americans here to explore our rich cultural heritage, couples here for romantic breaks and families who want to extend their day trips.”

Damian Conway, who would manage the new club, said it would create new jobs, be extremely discreet and have a separate access to Tokyo nightclub, which would continue to operate downstairs, and it would also be given a different ,non-offensive name.

He said a member of staff would be employed to look after the welfare of performers and all other employees and the club would meet a demand particularly from visitors to the city, such as racegoers and stag parties.

An upstairs licence was renewed by the council in February, allowing it to stay open, despite objec - tions by a feminist group. The York Feminist Network claimed it was too close to several organisations working with vulnerable groups of women and it contributed to making Micklegate feel a no-go area for women by making them feel threatened or uncomfortable.

But club owner Andrew Whitney said it had many female customers who came with their partners or with other women, and the lap dancing was promoted in such a discreet way that many people in the nightclub below did not even realise it was there.

Meanwhile, the council has revealed that while it was legally obliged to post notices for applica - tions for grants or variations to licences, there was no legal obliga - tion in the case of sex establish - ment licences. However Tokyo was obliged to publicise the application, and it posted a notice on the premises for 28 days and also placed a legal notice in The Press.

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