By Kevin Unitt 19/04 Updated: 24/04 14:50
RESIDENTS in Leamington Old Town have been left stunned by a council's decision to grant a premises a 'sexual entertainment licence' seven nights a week.
Last month Shades club in High Street was refused such a licence – due to the negative effect Warwick District Council felt it would have on the area – and it was widely expected the same decision would be made yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) on an application by Amara club in nearby Court Street.
But despite 50 letters of objection being sent in by neighbouring residents, the venue was granted a license, for at least one year, to allow 'adult entertainment' such as lap-dancing between 11pm and 3am Sunday and Thursday and from 11pm until 4am Friday and Saturday.
Leamington mayor, coun Alan Wilkinson, told the Observer he was “very very angry” at the decision.
He added: “It has really upset me. South town is in danger of becoming sleaze town and this decision doesn't give any respect to the people who live there. It sends out a message that their lives are not as important as those living in more affluent parts of the town.
“It has hugely set back our efforts to regenerate the area.”
Under the Policing and Crime Act 2009 all premises such as Amara and Shades were re-classed as 'sexual entertainment venues' and had to apply for a new licence, failure to secure it meaning they can only provide adult entertainment 11 times a year and no more than once per month.
On the Amara bid, the council said it had noted the premises was well run, entertainers would be subject to strict working conditions and customers would be required to obey a strict set of rules.
The council also accepted the applicant’s submission that there would be little or no effect on businesses, schools and places of worship in the area due to their opening hours not coinciding with the proposed hours for Amara.
The council committee, summing up its decision, wrote: “No objection was received by any of the relevant statutory bodies, including Warwickshire Police or children’s services.
“It was important to note that while people may have strong objections to sexual entertainment venues, parliament had already debated the moral and religious basis for them and the resulting legislation provided that they were legal where licenced.
“Furthermore, while we note the proximity of the premises to the residential properties in Tower Street, the committee did not consider Tower Street would constitute a residential area.”
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