Council tightens up on lapdancing rules

LAPDANCING clubs in town will be subject to tighter controls after the council accepted new powers this week.

At Monday’s meeting of the Hastings Borough Council cabinet, councillors agreed that lapdancing clubs such as Club XS in Prospect Place would be considered “sexual entertainment venues” and would need a special adult entertainment licence of the sort that covers sex shops and porn cinemas.

However the new law does not allow for residents to oppose these licences on moral grounds and pubs and bars which put on lapdancing events less than 11 times a year will not be covered by the new rules. Premises like Bar Diva in Silverhill - which hosts occasional lapdancing evenings and drew a backlash from the community earlier this year - will be exempt. At the time of the Bar Diva controversy Cllr Matthew J Lock warned that without tightening up the rules around lapdancing clubs Hastings could become “the Blackpool of the south” but at Monday’s meeting Cllr Phil Scott said: “I do not anticipate great numbers of applications coming forward from this. This law will give us greater control, particularly in terms of enforcement.”

Under the new law the council can demand that lapdancing clubs have CCTV cameras or door staff, provide proper changing facilities and make sure they protect young and vulnerable people.

Mike Hepworth, HBC head of environmental health at HBC said: “This will give us as a council a wider range of controls to safeguard local people living nearby, as well as those people who work in and use these clubs.”