Campaigners rejoice as Leeds lapdancing clubs are axed

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A charity and civic leaders have welcomed a decision to axe a number of lapdancing clubs in “sensitive” locations in Leeds.

Half of the city’s six strip venues had applications to renew their sexual entertainment venue (SEV) licences rejected by the city council.

Deep Blue, opposite Leeds railway station on Wellington Street, and Red Leopard and Wildcats, both on The Headrow, have been ordered to shut by next Friday.

Liberte and Purple Door, both located on York Place, had their licences approved. Silks, on Sovereign Place, has been given a licence until next June.

The decision by the licensing sub-committee was taken after the council introduced a new policy on SEVs in September. Drawn up following a public consultation, the policy states there should be a maximum of four SEVs in Leeds.

The council said the decision to refuse three licences was taken “due to the number of buildings with sensitive uses nearby to the location of the premises”.

Catriona Palin, of charity Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds (SARSVL), said: “Ideally there would be no lapdancing clubs, but we welcome the decision to reduce the number.

“We have been told by a lot of women that they don’t like walking in these areas at night. The fact there will be no clubs on The Headrow will make a big difference.”

Kevin Grady, director of Leeds Civic Trust, added: “Our view is that lapdancing clubs lower the tone of the city centre. We want it to be a family-friendly place, particularly in the evenings.

“Lapdancing clubs give exactly the wrong message to visitors, especially at the older end of the scale.”

The council is likely to face a legal fight from the lapdancing trade. Paul Gourlay, who runs Wildcats, told the Yorkshire Evening Post that he was meeting his solicitor last night to prepare an application for a judicial review.

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