Girls take lap-dancing message to the streets
THE OWNER of Newquay's only lap-dancing club has hired a team of girls to promote the bar on the streets – in direct breach of his sex entertainment licence.
Ian Whittaker attracted the attention of Cornwall Council's licensing department after unwittingly posting photos on Facebook of his "promo girls" touting for business.
The terms of his Sexual Entertainment Venue (SEV) licence clearly state that nobody linked to the business is allowed to "solicit custom" for the strip club outside of the premises.
Mr Whittaker refused to comment when the Cornish Guardian called the club on Tuesday.
Bob Mears, the council's licensing compliance manager, said officers had written to the club owner reminding him of the SEV licence conditions.
He said: "Following information received, including some photographs taken from the premises' Facebook site, Cornwall Council licensing officers had cause to pass on suitable advice, in writing, to a licensed sex entertainment venue in Newquay with regard to the conditions placed on their SEV licence.
"Cornwall Council's licensing compliance team takes all breaches in relation to licensing matters very seriously, and where any such breaches are highlighted appropriate, proportionate and suitable action is taken to ensure that such breaches are addressed."
The news has been met with anger from community leaders and campaigners, who had spotted the girls out and about in Newquay during the evenings.
Dave Sleeman, chairman of the Newquay Town Residents' Association, brought the issue up at a meeting of the Newquay Safe partnership last week.
He said: "It's starting to look like Ibiza around there, which is a major cause for concern. People are being approached and pestered in the street continually."
Equality campaigner, Tracy Earnshaw believes the council should get tougher with licensees who disregard the terms of their licences.
She said: "I believe that a 'chat' with the licensee is inadequate. This is a licence for sexual entertainment, not a licence for a circus, although it might as well be.
"If this premises can so brazenly and openly flout such a clear and concise condition of their licence out on the street and on a public social networking site for all to see, what guarantees do we have that the conditions in respect of the running of sexual entertainment inside of the premises are being adhered to?"
Mrs Earnshaw, who last month spoke out at the doomed SEV licence application hearing for Kiss Gentlemen's Club, said the breach could be used as evidence against the renewal of Mr Whittaker's SEV licence later this year. She said: "All SEV's have to reapply for a new licence every 12 months so this is still evidence which objectors can and will use as to Wild Cherry's inability to run an SEV in accordance with conditions."