First published: 11.26am, Tuesday 22 July 2014
COUNCILLORS have voted to allow a second lap dancing club in York city centre – but have called for a review of the city’s policies on such venues.
The club will open on the first floor of Tokyo nightclub in Toft Green in a couple of months’ time, following a majority vote last night by City of York Council’s Licensing Committee in favour of granting a licence.
The decision came in spite of strong objections by the nearby Hampton by Hilton Hotel and Safestay Tourist Hostel, which feared the new club would exacerbate existing problems with noise, drunkenness and anti-social behaviour in the street.
Feminists also objected with Jenny Wilke raising concerns at the meeting that the club would operate close to York’s only other current strip club – above Mansion in Micklegate – and also near several sensitive venues such as women’s refuges, schools, nurseries, and places of worship.
Another concern raised by councillors was that disabled people would not be able to gain access to the club, with Cllr Ken King saying: “Sex is here to stay and some of my best friends participate, and some are disabled.”
Tokyo’s solicitor said the club would look into providing access for disabled people.
Sarah Smith, solicitor for the applicants, said the club would reduce the problems of noise, as customers would arrive and depart discreetly and without long queues developing in the street. There would be a separate entrance to the nightclub and no direct access between the two clubs.
She also said there was no evidence in York or anywhere else that women in the area of lap dancing clubs would be at any increased risk of assault by men departing from such clubs.
She told councillors that such clubs were not to everyone’s taste, but they were a legal pastime and were a part of the night-time economy.
Committee chair Cllr Barbara Boyce said members had agreed to a review of the council’s policies on sexual entertainment venues, which had not been updated for a number of years. It might look, for example, at putting a limit on the number of lap dancing clubs to be allowed in the city.