Leeds lap dancing club Whiskey Down licence review as city can only have four 'sexual venues'

Whiskey Down on Crown Street in Leeds
The club is located on Crown Street. -Credit:Google

A lap dancing club will continue to operate in the city centre if an application to renew its licence is successful.

Councillors will consider the renewal of a sex establishment licence for Whiskey Down, on Crown Street, near the Corn Exchange. The council’s licensing sub-committee will consider whether the outside appearance of the venue and its advertising material are appropriate as part of the application.

The venue operator, Tokyo Industries (Ultimate) Ltd, applied to retain the existing opening hours of 10pm-4am, Sunday to Thursday, and 10pm-5am Friday and Saturday. The company has held a licence to operate a sexual entertainment venue at the premises, which was formerly the Townhouse, since 2017.

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A report to Tuesday’s hearing said Leeds currently has three premises which hold that type of licence following changes in the way they are regulated. It said: “In 2010 the government introduced a new category of sex establishment called a sexual entertainment venue.

“This reclassified lap dancing clubs as sexual entertainment venues and gave local authorities the power to regulate such venues. The intention was to give local people greater say over the number and location of lap dancing clubs in their area.”

The council also drew up its own licensing policy, which included a list of locations which were not appropriate for such venues. In 2012, Leeds had seven lap dancing clubs.

The report said: “The policy set out that the appropriate number of sexual entertainment venues in the city centre is a maximum of four providing these premises are not near properties with sensitive uses or in sensitive locations. Subsequent to this, four of the seven venues had their licence renewal applications refused due to their locations.”

Leeds City Council will ask Whiskey Down to accept updated licence conditions as part of the renewal, the report said.

Standard conditions include safety measures to protect the welfare of performers, CCTV, age verification and no offensive advertising materials.

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