Zero quota for lap dancing clubs in Bexley MP demands
PUBLISHED: 10:04 20 May 2011
An MP is starting a petition to get Bexley council to set the number of lap dancing clubs in the borough to zero.
Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce launched the petition today in a bid for Bexley council to set a ‘sex policy’ where councillors could set the quota to zero, to ensure the borough remains a lap dancing-free zone.
She said: “Lap dancing clubs fuel a sexist culture in which it is acceptable to treat women as sex objects, not people, and areas surrounding the clubs can become ‘no-go’ areas for women. So it’s time for Bexley to use its new powers and take action: introduce a ‘zero’ policy on sexual entertainment venues and ensure our community stays a lap dancing club– free zone.”
This comes after the council dropped the granting of a sex establishment licence from £22,537 to £8,995 on March 29 this year after they carried out a study into how much fees for a new type of category - a sexual venue such as lap dancing bars - should be. Now both licences for lap dancing clubs and sex shops are the same in Bexley. In Greenwich, a sex shop licence costs £20,360 while in Westminster it is £29,102.
The European’s Union Services Directive which came into affect on December 28, 2009, means councils can only charge for the cost of the licence and the required inspections and not the enforcement work carried out on unlicensed businesses, carried out by both local authorities and the police.
There is currently only one sex shop in the whole of the borough - Private Shop in 14 Bourne Road, Bexley Village and the council has not received any applications for a new one for at least seven years.
A spokesperson for Bexley council said: “To set a ‘nil quota’ the authority must have a ‘sex policy’. Bexley has decided at present not to have a policy. Setting a nil policy does not prevent applications being made or authorities having to consider such applications.”