Anger as lap dance club gets its licence

NEWMARKET town councillors are fighting a decision that has allowed a lap dancing club to stay open in the High Street.

The council had objected to Heaven’s application for a sex establishment licence but members of Forest Heath District council’s licensing committee ignored its views and those of several residents and granted the licence, which is now required under new Government guidelines.

Town councillor Warwick Hirst said: “I’m utterly opposed to this licence application and so is the council. We are going to start a petition to challenge this and present it to the district council.”

Cllr Hirst said that according to a 2009 law, the district council would have to discuss the issue again if 200 signatures were collected and councillors would be asking shoppers to sign a petition in The Guineas shopping centre between 9am-5pm on Saturday and again on Tuesday. It is also planning an online petition.

The council and some residents argued that the club, which has been operating for six years, was too close to churches, homes and a children’s play area, and that its location, at a gateway to the town, was inappropriate.

Cllr Rachel Hood, who spoke on behalf of the town council, said the club was “garish” and did not comply with Forest Heath’s new rules.

“It does not actually matter what this club has been doing for the last six years, what matters is looking at this establishment and licensing afresh,” she told the licensing committee on Monday.

But solicitor Clare Eames, representing Heaven, said: “It has not been the cause of crime, anti-social behaviour or complaints for six years. The police are content with the application and do not seek to object to it. It employs a number of people in the locality and it caters for a local trade.”