Council agrees to change rules on sex establishments

Published Wednesday, 20th March 2019
Charity partnership secures Government funding to help victims of grooming and sexual exploitation
Charity partnership secures Government funding to help victims of grooming and sexual exploitation

Residents, businesses and community leaders have given their overwhelming backing to the rules around sex establishments in the borough being tightened.

A consultation which went out earlier this year asked people to say what areas of Rotherham they thought were not suitable for sex establishments, like strip and lap dancing clubs and sex shops, to operate.

The Council also consulted on introducing regulations to ensure those working in such premises were treated fairly.

The consultation showed high level public support with over three-quarters of the 422 responses strongly agreeing that the rules needed to be tougher. And this week Cabinet agreed to start the process to tighten up the rules in which they operate. This is expected to see the Council adopt schedule three of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, meaning more types of venue would require specialised licences and would not simply be licensed under the same rules as bars and nightclubs.

Cllr Emma Hoddinott, Cabinet member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety and Chair of the Safer Rotherham Partnership said: “It is clear from the responses that the public believe these types of venues and establishments have no place in Rotherham.

“There has been strong public feedback to tighter regulate sex establishments like lap dancing and strip clubs, and we have now started the process to do that.”

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.

The Cabinet has recommended that Full Council agrees to further regulation of the strip clubs and, if approved by all Councillors at the meeting, a policy will follow as a result. That could mean that future applications being refused in certain inappropriate locations, including near schools, places of worship, women’s refuges, play areas and family leisure facilities like theatres.