Lap dance club could be set for expansion

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Campaigners have hit out at plans to allow the expansion of a Leeds lap dancing club.

The news comes just weeks after Leeds City Council approved a cap on the number of “sexual entertainment venues (SEV)” allowed in the city centre.

The policy will see the number of lap dancing bars fall from the current seven, to four as of September this year.

Illuminati Ventures has applied to Leeds City Council for permission to expand the current Black Diamond club on New Briggate from two floors to four.

And a report to the council’s City Plans Panel recommends the venue, which is near The Grand Theatre, should be given permission to double its size.

Sandra McNeill from Support After Rape and Sexual Assault Leeds (SARSVL) said she was surprised at the recommendation.

She said: “I am very, very surprised because Leeds City Council has agreed to limit the number of lap dancing clubs to four.

“The majority of members of the Citizens’ Panel said that Briggate was not suitable for lap dancing clubs.

“It’s next to The Grand Theatre and that makes it a sensitive location and not suitable.

“This goes totally against the wishes of the Citizens’ Panel.”

SARSVL submitted a formal objection to the plans stating that any sexual establishments in Leeds is incompatible with the city’s Child Friendly Leeds policy, the Equality Act and the Violence Against Women Strategy.

A report to the panel acknowledges the new policy to cap the number of SEVs in Leeds and their locations.

Planners suggest that children and young people would not know what the premises is used for because it will have blanked out windows and there will be no external references.

The report states: “Although Black Diamond/Tantric Blue is located near to family leisure facilities (the Grand Theatre and the Arena), and close to New Briggate, this does not automatically mean that the licence will not be granted.

“The proposed use it compatible with the Entertainment Quarter designation.

“Evidence suggests that the use would be likely to have less of a direct impact on the amenities of the locality than the use of the building primarily as a drinking establishment.

“No objections have been raised by consultees, including the Police and Environmental Protection and accordingly, on balance, the application is recommended for approval.”

Members of the plans panel have been advised to grant permission for the expansion.

But they have been advised that the decision will be subject to a number of conditions including restricting the hours from 9pm until 6am and a scheme will be drawn up to control noise.

Nicola Saunders-Jones and Jack Bean who were exhibiting their fashion brand "Offend My Eyes" in Whitby for the first day of Goth Weekend.  Friday 21 April 2017. w171605a
 Picture: Ceri Oakes

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