Feb 21 2018

Sheffield back-tracks on commitment to ban new strip clubs

Original news report found here: https://www.jusnews.net/sheffield-back-tracks-on-commitment-to-ban-new-strip-clubs/

A new sexual establishment policy was approved in Sheffield today, but councillors back-tracked on a commitment to limit the number of strip clubs in the city.

Speaking at a Licencing Committee meeting today, Stephen Lonnia, author of the final report, said: “I don’t want Sheffield to be like Soho.”

Green councillor Douglas Johnson said it was a strange decision not to include the limit to two strip clubs in the city.

“It’s a bit odd that they’ve gone back from that, there’s simply nothing in the report that says why they’ve gone back on that position,” said Cllr Johnson.

The initial draft, published in December 2016, said there would be a limit to two strip clubs in the city. But after a second consultation period, this specific cap was replaced with a provision allowing the council to introduce a cap for an unspecified number if it wanted to.

As there are already two strip clubs in Sheffield, the policy would have effectively banned any new establishments opening in the city.

Labour councillor Josie Paszek said the new policy simplified the process for both the council and any potential new enterprise, giving the council increased flexibility on a case-by-case basis.

The first consultation period attracted 82 responses, one of the highest ever to a specific policy, with most respondents against any sexual entertainment venues being in the city.

The council also conducted a questionnaire amongst employees at a strip club in the city, with most responses indicating they were happy with their work place.

However, at the meeting it was highlighted that the establishment, not the council, was responsible for conducting the survey.

Charlotte Mead, Sheffield Women’s Equality Party branch leader, was disappointed that Sheffield allowed any strip clubs to be in the city at all and was critical that there were only four women involved in the final decision.

She said: “It’s horrifying when you think of the subject they were talking about. Nobody even mentioned gender inequality at all, they’re shying away from it because it’s difficult.”

Ms Mead said Sheffield should have acted upon the recent water shed moment with the revelations about sexual harassment in parliament and the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

“Sheffield’s meant to be all for equality, and yet we still think it’s okay to have these clubs where women are objectified,” she added.

Leeds has four sex entertainment venues, which is the limited cap. Barnsley has a limit of four including sex shops, all of which are currently operating.

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