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Sex shop charges to get cheaper

Leeds lap dancing clubs performing well too, says council

Published on March 16th 2011.

Sex shop charges to get cheaper

They say sex sells – and in Leeds, it seems to be true.

Leeds City Council is planning to drop the charge for running a sex shop or lap dancing club in the city.

The council is currently reviewing licensing arrangements and fees for both businesses ahead of a new policy, which will be introduced in April. The city currently has five sex shops and eight lap-dancing clubs, as well as a handful of other ‘sexual entertainment’ businesses, according to a new council report.

The current fees, set in 2008, have been reviewed after a written request from London-based sex shop operator Darker Enterprises.

Under current policy, it costs £8,098 to apply for a new licence, with £1,860 refunded if it is refused or withdrawn; and £3,271 for a renewal, with £1,674 refunded.The new charges will see licence cost £2,300, irrespective of whether it is new or renewed.

Other local authorities are also reviewing their fees and charges this year, and research carried out by the council showed new licences in Leeds was less expensive than Birmingham (£9,935)but more expensive than Manchester (£5,142).

Leeds’ lap-dancing clubs are also managing to weather the recession, according to a previous report by the council.

The report, which went before its licensing committee at the end of last year, said that ‘lap dancing venues in Leeds did not appear to be suffering the same downturn in business as other nightclubs during the current economic climate.’

The manager of one lapdancing bar in Leeds, who asked not to be named, said it had seen an increase in customers in 2010 which has carried on during the start of the year.

“The number of businessman visiting has dropped a little bit, although the majority of them are still visiting,” he said. “Perhaps the difference is they are spending their own money now. We used to have a lot of people entertaining clients on expenses in here a couple of years ago, but that has dropped off a bit.

“We still get the odd stag do and small groups. The girls are making good money and we try and give them the best working environment.

“The change in signage might have an impact, but we’ll have to wait and see...but if we’re doing better than other bars in the city, the council will have to take that into consideration. They need successful businesses and we’re obviously servicing a market that is happy to spend money in clubs like ours.”

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