Leeds lapdancing club asks Eric Pickles to investigate closure threat

Paul Gourlay owner of Wildcats  lap dancing club on the Headrow
Paul Gourlay owner of Wildcats lap dancing club on the Headrow
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A SENIOR GOVERNMENT Minister is being asked to intervene over Leeds City Council’s efforts to close a city centre lapdancing club.

The owner of Wildcats on The Headrow has asked Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles to investigate why Leeds City Council is spending money on legal action to close it at a time when the authority is having to make major cuts and put up council tax bills.

But the council insists it is only defending itself against legal action brought by Wildcats.

In a letter to Mr Pickles, Wildcats owner Paul Gourlay says: “The council closed 13 libraries to save £600,000 a year and now faces legal bills that are likely to exceed that sum for an issue that most taxpayers don’t care about.

“I think this issue deserves an external inquiry on behalf of the taxpayer.”

Wildcats was one of three lapdancing clubs to lose its licence last year after the council drew up new rules about where they could open.

A judge has ruled that Wildcats should be allowed to stay open until both sides put their case at a court hearing next month.

Mr Gourlay said it was likely the losing side would appeal triggering further legal expenses.

Leeds City Council would also lose out on thousands of pounds in business rates if the club closes, he said.

The city introduced the new rules on lapdancing last year following a public consultation on the issue.

It recommended that lapdancing clubs, known officially as “sexual entertainment venues” should be banned in “prominent” areas and that there should be a maximum of four.

The council has previously described estimates of legal costs at this stage as “entirely speculative and misleading” and refused to comment further before the court hearing..

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