Lapdancing bar in legal action threat to Leeds City Council

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Council bosses in Leeds face the threat of a costly Judicial Review if they press ahead with plans that will shut down three of the city’s lapdancing bars.

Earlier this week, the councils’ Executive Board approved a cap on the number of “sexual entertainment venues (SEV)” allowed in the city centre.

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

But speaking to the YEP, Paul Gourlay, owner of Wildcats on The Headrow, said he would take legal action if his club, which is opposite Leeds Town Hall, was one of those told to close its doors.

Mr Gourlay said: “We don’t yet know which clubs they’re going to shut down. But we feel it was always the aim to shut the two clubs on the Headrow, which includes us, and the consultation has just been a rubber-stamping exercise. If we are one of the ones that they decide to close, there is no question that we will take them to a Judicial Review and we have already instructed solicitors for that course of action.”

The council’s decision came after a public consultation and will also ban lapdancing bars from sensitive sites. But Mr Gourlay said the impact on the local economy had not been properly taken into account.

He said: “This policy will see at least 200 people out of work. We ourselves employ up to 80 people and even if you take dancers out of the equation, there’s door staff, bar staff, and staff at media and advertising companies we work with. We also have a number of subsidiary companies and this will place them under threat. We have got a 15 year, £150,000 a year lease on that building and what they could be looking at is a derelict building on the Headrow.”

He added: “We have taken steps to remove anything which identifies what the establishment is away from the outside and the perceived threat to the public is not there to justify spending potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds in Judicial Reviews to shut these clubs down.”

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Paula Dillon, President of Leeds Chamber Commerce.

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