A TOP council boss is calling for a Leeds lap dancing club to be shut down – because it would spoil plans to redevelop part of the city centre.
Silks, at Sovereign Place behind Leeds railway station, has applied to renew its sexual entertainment venue (SEV) licence.
But Martin Farrington, director of city development at the council, has stepped in to call for the licensing sub-committee to reject the application next week.
He said the continued operation of a strip club would detract from a planned new public park, surrounded by cafes and shops, which is set to open next year.
In a letter to the sub-committee Mr Farrington said: “These [lap dancing] activities conflict with council plans to provide public infrastructure and promote the regeneration of the adjacent Sovereign Square area by providing a new greenspace, Sovereign Square Greenspace, at its heart along with associated public facilities such as food kiosks and street cafes.
“Furthermore the council has additional concerns that the development of the surrounding Sovereign Square area, as a new high quality mixed use location, would be compromised by the continuing operation of a sex establishment at Sovereign Place as inward investment could be deterred.”
His call spells further bad news for the lap dancing industry in Leeds, after half the city’s clubs were forced to close last December.
Deep Blue, opposite Leeds railway station on Wellington Street, and Red Leopard and Wildcats, both on The Headrow, had their licences removed after the council introduced a new policy on strip clubs in September.
The policy said there should be no more than four venues for the city – but also set out guidelines for rejecting licences for clubs “near properties with sensitive uses or in sensitive locations”.
Silks has operated since 2009.
The club yesterday declined to comment before next Tuesday’s hearing.