SEX CLUBS COULD BE D S T R IPPE OF LICENCES; Plan to Shut Down Adult Entertainment Venues Exploitation and Crime Are Linked to Adult Industry
Byline: Les Reid
LAPDANCING bars and sex clubs face a complete ban in Coventry city centre, the Telegraph can reveal. Council leaders are to consult the public over introducing a city-wide policy of not issuing licences to lap dancing clubs and similar premises. The current policy allows up to two licenced sexual entertainment venues in Coventry city centre, and none across the rest of the city. There is currently only one in the city centre - Heat, in the City Arcade, which brands itself as 'Coventry's only gentlemen's club'. Council leaders say if the new policy is implemented in April next year, it would be for the council's licensing committee to decide if Heat's licence is renewed. Leading Labour councillor Phil Townshend, cabinet member for community safety and equalities, said a ban could be necessary to protect the public. He pointed to reports of widespread problems with exploitation of workers in the sex and sexual entertainment industry, and a potential link with sex crime and domestic violence. Coun Townshend said he hoped a three-month public consultation would attract responses from people in all Coventry communities, schools, police, sex crime victims' charities, churches, businesses and others. A smaller public consultation last year on the issue attracted just 28 responses, and led to the current "interim" policy of up to two venues in the city centre. He said: "The fact we allow up to two venues at present shows it's not a moral crusade, but that we are trying to get right a very difficult issue.
"I don't think we're out of touch with public opinion on this, but we want to make sure the policy is right. "We want the largest ever public consultation on this issue, while making clear the council's preferred option is a zero (venues) policy. …