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Newquay lap-dancing boss attacks new law

9 April 10 12:10 GMT

The owner of a Cornwall lap-dancing club has condemned new powers given to councils to control the industry.

Alan Whitehead, of Divas in Newquay, said the new rules were "not logical".

Under the new legislation, lap-dancing clubs in England must apply to councils for a new licence which can cost several thousand pounds.

And the venues are now classed as sex establishments, rather than as pubs or cafes, making it easier for people to argue that they are "inappropriate".

However councils will only be able to reject an application for a licence on the grounds of crime, nuisance or public safety and not for moral reasons.

"It is not a sex establishment," said Mr Whitehead. "They are dancers and that is all it has ever been and will be.

"Striptease has been around for thousands of years."

He said the new law was "about raising revenue".

"It's about money... but it is not logical. Whoever thought about this does not know what the industry is about."

He said clubs would "find a way round it".

"Clubs will band together. It has human rights issues. We could be fighting it in Strasbourg.

"But what a waste of everyone's time and money when there are far more important things this country has to deal with than the rise of lap-dancing clubs."

Richard Kemp, deputy chairman of the Local Government Association, said the main concerns were with clubs near schools, churches and in suburban areas.

"The trouble is people have been coming along to councils and councillors and saying: 'This is disgraceful what are you doing about it?'

"And the answer until today has been nothing, because we've had no powers to act.

"Now we're able to take firm action against lap-dancing."

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