Police have “outright” objected to a Leeds massage parlour’s application for a licence to serve alcohol.
Winstons Health and Leisure, which promotes itself as the UK’s largest massage parlour, has not been able to sell alcohol since its licence was revoked in November 2006.
It previously lost its licence when police presented evidence that it was being run as a brothel.
The venue in Dewsbury Road, Beeston, is now seeking permission to sell alcohol daily between 8pm and 5am.
Although the venue is under new management, police have urged Leeds City Council’s licensing sub-committee to refuse the new application.
In a letter, a licensing officer told councillors: “Having seen the venue, and researched police intelligence and entries on social media and websites, I am not convinced that Winstons has changed the historical nature of its business.
“I made the applicant aware that I thought it was still operating as a brothel and that any application for a premises licence would receive a police objection.”
But Dan Hall, director of DRH Health Ltd, told the YEP he could see no reason for the application to be rejected.
“I know the reputation the place has had,” he said. “There’s nothing going off here that shouldn’t be.
“I’m trying to turn it round and get it regulated. It’s in their interest to allow the licence.”
Mr Hall took over management of Winstons in December 2013, a month after 29 people were arrested on suspicion of drugs and prostitution offences when police raided the venue.
In April that year the then management had made a licence application via a solicitor, but this was withdrawn following police objections.
Mr Hall said he had already had meetings with the police about the application and the club regularly worked with them to aid investigations into any crimes committed nearby, supplying CCTV footage from external cameras when it might help.
“It’s an open door policy,” he said. “At any time anyone can come in and have an inspection.”
The letter from the licensing officer urges the councillors on the sub-committee to give serious consideration to visiting the site as part of their decision-making process.
It details a visit made to Winstons in September to discuss the application with Mr Hall, which raised concerns about use of the premises.
The officer said: “I was shown various ‘treatment/massage’ rooms – there were a minimal amount of treatment tables present, the majority of furniture in the rooms being beds.”
Ward councillor Elizabeth Nash has also objected to the application, saying the proposed hours are totally unsuitable in a residential area.
Papers submitted as part of the application set out measures designed to ensure the sale of alcohol will not create problems at the venue.
They include SIA registered security staff during times when alcohol is served; random searches for drugs, weapons and alcohol being smuggled in; a Challenge 25 policy; a log of all customers refused service, and the use of plastic glasses.
The application also seeks permission for the playing of recorded music between 11pm and 5.30am.
Mr Hall, who would act as the designated premises supervisor, said he hoped councillors would give him a chance to prove they could make it work.
“That’s all I’m asking for,” he said. “If they give us a chance and we fail in any way, fair enough.”
The application is due to be considered at Tuesday’s sub-committee meeting but Mr Hall said he would be seeking an postponement until February 28 so that his solicitor could attend.