Strip club bid thrown out over impact on local area

A CONTROVERSIAL bid to open a second strip club in the town centre has been thrown out after councillors decided it would affect the character of the area.

More than 100 people had written to Hastings Borough Council objecting to the application to turn JB Bar in Claremont into a sexual entertainment venue.

It was among the highest number of objections ever received by a local authority in the country.

And several objectors attended the Environment and Safety Committee yesterday (THURS)to make their feelings known.

Watching in the public gallery was Professor Phil Hubbard, the UK’s only researcher into the planning and licensing of sex venues by local authorities.

Despite a plea from Bexhill-based businessman Edwin Jeffery, the committee turned the application down.

Chairman Bruce Dowling said: “There’s a strong body of evidence that the character of the area would be greatly affected by the proposal.”

The members heard that 124 representations had been received.

Licensing manager Bob Brown said: “It is recognised that such applications can give rise to emotive views. It is important to note that objections should not be based on moral grounds or values.”

Victoria Duffy, owner of Bullet Coffee Shop, situated directly opposite JD Bar, told the meeting: “This is the first point of access for everyone visiting the town centre.

“I do not feel that having that form of venue in that location will be suitable.”

Laurence White, director of Parr & Bell Ltd which Collared dog accessory shop in Robertson Street, gave a 15 minute speech.

He said: “I would suggest that nil is the appropriate number of clubs for this area.

“This is because of its potential and growing importance to tourism and family leisure activities, as a main thoroughfare between the seafront, the new pier and the town centre and because of the proximity to businesses and public buildings that can be expected to attract families and young people.”

The Chamber of Commerce also wrote in to object stating the application would be a “regressive step to the recent work that has been achieved.”

Mr Jeffery said: “Most of the objectors were “misguided and the area has already been destroyed by the premises that are there. The windows would be blacked out. We ‘re offering 12 jobs in an area of high unemployment.”

Speaking outside the meeting professor Hubbard, of University of Kent, said: “There are plans for regeneration and it did not seem unreasonable to turn it down. The presence of the club might have sent out signals that the area is not ‘family friendly’.” The committee was concerned it is a gateway and might send out the wrong impressions. This is one of the most objections I have seen in the last 20 years of research.”