Council seeks to change rules on sex establishments

Published Wednesday, 7th November 2018
Charity partnership secures Government funding to help victims of grooming and sexual exploitation
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Council leaders want to hear from residents about the types of places in Rotherham where they think it's not suitable for sex establishments, like strip and lap dancing clubs and sex shops to operate.

Rotherham Council is proposing to consult on where these should be, with the view to establishing a more robust policy around such establishments. This could mean applications being refused in certain inappropriate locations, including near schools, places of worship, women’s refuges, play areas and family leisure facilities like theatres. The Council is considering such establishments opening where they would be of a detriment to local areas or amenities.

At the same time the Council wants to introduce regulations to ensure those working in such premises are treated fairly.

Workers in sex-establishments across the country are often classed as self-employed and therefore denied the benefits of being an employee, but without the freedom of self-employment. There are currently no regulations to stop those running sex establishments imposing fines on their workers, even for minor infringements. In some places workers are expected to pay “house fees” for the privilege to be allowed to work and have a percentage of their earnings taken by club owners, without regulations protecting them from being exploited.

Cllr Emma Hoddinott, Cabinet member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety and Chair of the Safer Rotherham Partnership said: “We need to look again at this particular industry in Rotherham.

“It is time we reviewed the licensing around sex establishments, ensuring we have the best interests of our communities at heart when applications are heard. This is why we want to seek residents’ views.”

The laws around these sorts of clubs have tightened up nationally in recent years, following the introduction of the Police and Crime Act 2009, including establishments having to apply for licences on an annual basis. Previously such clubs had been regulated under laws designed to control pubs and nightclubs.

The Council’s Cabinet is set to discuss these issues at its meeting on 19 November. Members are expected to agree to a public consultation being carried out to seek residents’ views on a draft policy.

To read the Cabinet report in full:

View the report on the proposals