Lap-dancing club application rejected
CAMPAIGNERS against lap-dancing cheered and clapped on Friday as an application for a new strip club in the heart of Newquay was rejected.
There were jubilant scenes in the council chamber in St Austell after members of a Cornwall Council licensing committee voted against plans for Kiss Gentlemen's Club by nine votes to two.
A Sexual Entertainment Venue [SEV] licence for the proposed club, which was formerly Halos on Bank Street, was refused on the grounds of "inappropriate location".
The news has been welcomed by community leaders across the town, including Dave Sleeman of Newquay Town Residents' Association, and Cornwall councillors Geoff Brown, Joanna Kenny and George Edwards.
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The town's MP, Steve Gilbert, said that the decision could mark a return to the family-focused "bucket and spade" type resort of old.
Perhaps the biggest smile belonged to equality champion Tracy Earnshaw, who called on ten witnesses at the hearing to back her objections with heartfelt speeches and anecdotal evidence.
Mrs Earnshaw told the Cornish Guardian: "My feelings are naturally ecstatic, shocked, surprised but exceptionally pleased.
"I did not believe that the decision would go our way at all, simply because, as we have seen over and over again, tourism and business have been placed above the needs and even the safety of our community when it comes to the night-time economy.
"Without exception every one of those witnesses talked about a direct link between this lap-dancing club [Halos], its customers and intimidation, sexual harassment and even assault, proving that the main shopping street of Newquay is not an appropriate location for an SEV. I hope a precedent has been set regarding location."
Many witnesses described experiences of leering lads outside Halos making sexual remarks to, and even groping, young women.
One man, who we have agreed not to name, said a group of perverts had surrounded him and his girlfriend and grabbed her buttocks, even as he held her hand.
Youth club leaders at Newquay Christian Centre also sought to dispel the "myth" that vulnerable people and children are not on the streets when the lap-dancing clubs open at 9pm or 10pm.
One mum told members of the Miscellaneous Licensing Committee: "People should be free to go wherever they want without fear of sexual assault or intimidation. It feels like we're having a curfew put on us."
Mrs Earnshaw said the majority of "low-level" sex crimes and many serious attacks were not reported to police.
Applicant Jane Hawkey said she accepted the committee's decision and would review her options.
Her legal representative, James Findlay, QC, spoke of the "Halos hangover" during the hearing – the "shadow" of the club's previous reputation over the application for Kiss.
The club was stripped of its sexual entertainment licence last year after police discovered dancers were regularly breaking a rule requiring them to remain three feet from customers.