Will Leeds city centre lap dancing club get its licence renewed?

A lap dancing club, close to the historic Corn Exchange, could be handed a licence to operate for another year.

Tuesday, 12th June 2018, 10:39 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 10:35 am

Councillors will today (June 12) consider whether to renew the licence of Whiskey Down, on Crown Street in Leeds city centre, so it can continue to run as a sexual entertainment venue.

Site operator Tokyo Industries (Lincoln York Hull) Limited said there would be lap dancing, pole dancing and stage strip teases, as well as full nudity.

A Sex Establishment Licence was granted for the venue on March 31 2017 - but this expired after 12 months, at the end of March this year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Assembly Street, looking towards the Corn Exchange. Image courtesy of Google.

Leeds City Council's Licensing Sub Committee are being asked to decide whether to re-license the venue, when members meet tomorrow.

The authority's licensing policy for sex establishments sets out that a "maximum of four" sexual entertainment venues is appropriate for the city centre, providing they are not near properties with sensitive uses including historic buildings, residential areas and shopping areas. Whiskey Down became the fourth licensed venue in the city.

Leeds Civic Trust has objected to the application, stating that the venue, accessed off Assembly Street, is close to "family destination" the Corn Exchange.

It said: "This area has a number of buildings of historical importance, including the Grade I-Listed Corn Exchange - arguably the most important listed building in Leeds."

The trust also expressed concern over the impact of late trading hours on residential properties nearby

An objection from a commenter whose details are not printed in a report to tomorrow's meeting, added: "Not only are these premises close to a block of flats, but I regard such an application as injurious to future developments on Crown Street and Kirkgate. Future retailers may be deterred from opening premises so close to an adult entertainment centre of this kind."

Concerns have also been raised over gender equality.

An objection submitted on behalf of Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds, called for the council to refuse the application.

It said: "We believe that a sexual entertainment venue directly discriminates against women by normalising the sexualisation and objectification of women."

No comments have been made from West Yorkshire Police regarding the application.

Tokyo Industries has provided the committee with a copy of its Dancers Welfare Policy and codes of conduct for its customers and dancers..

In its application it says only the first and second floors of the building are to be used as a sex establishment and the venue has its own discreet entrance.

It says the windows will be covered so no one can see in and a neon sign advertising the club will only be lit during opening hours (10pm-4am Sundays-Thursdays and 10pm-5am Fridays and Saturdays).

The operator has also requested the removal of a condition stating that a Security Industry Authority (SIA) doorman must be on Crown Street during its hours of operation. This is in addition to a minimum of two SIA door staff being required to be present on the premises.

The application states that "considerable funds" have been invested in installing a sophisticated CCTV system, which it claims is a "far greater tool in crime prevention".

It adds that the additional doorman "has not been required to deal with any incident since the business began trading".