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York Feminist Network launches campaign against lap-dancing club's licence renewal
A FEMINIST group has launched a campaign against an application by York’s last remaining lap-dancing club to renew its licence.
The York Feminist Network claims the club, Upstairs, situated above the Mansion nightclub in Micklegate, is too close to several organisations working with vulnerable groups, such as a domestic abuse service, women’s counselling service and an organisaiton supporting survivors of rape and sexual abuse.
The network also claims the club contributes to making Micklegate feel a no-go area for women.
She said: “Evidence shows that in certain locations, lap dancing and exotic dancing clubs make women feel threatened or uncomfortable.”
They also claim the club serves to “normalise the sexual objectification of women” and also damages York’s family-friendly reputation, and said more than 140 people had signed a petition of objection, adding: “Lap- dancing clubs have no place in this community.”
But Andrew Whitney, the club’s owner, claimed its closure would result in up to 40 dancers losing jobs which paid considerably more than the Living Wage, and it could threaten the whole nightclub’s viability, endangering another 30 full- and part-time staff.
He said he had invited the campaigners to visit the club and talk to the dancers, but had not had a reply.
He also claimed it was “absolutely not true” that the club made Micklegate feel a no-go area for women, and the lap dancing club itself had many female customers who came with their partners or with other women.
Mr Whitney added that the lap dancing was promoted in such a discreet way that many people in the nightclub below did not even realise it was there.
Council licensing manager Lesley Cooke confirmed Upstairs had applied for a renewal of its 12-month licence and was the only place in York to have made such an application.
She said objections could be made in writing and, if relevant ones were received, it could be determined by the Gambling, Licensing and Regulatory Committee.
She said: “The committee could then either grant the licence in the terms applied for, or grant it with modified or additional conditions or reject the application.”
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