Victory in Lowestoft sex shop case
Councillors in Lowestoft have rejected a licensing application for the opening of a Sex Entertainment Venue in the town centre. The case was supported by the Christian Legal Centre.
This was the third licensing application for a Sex Entertainment Venue to be heard by Lowestoft councillors in a period of just 12 months.
In February 2014, local residents expressed concern after a licence was granted for the opening of a sex club in the town, despite strong opposition from members of the Lowestoft community.
After several months, it transpired that the proposed venue would no longer go ahead.
However, in autumn 2014, a second application was made for the opening of a lap dancing club in the town centre, attracting concern from an alliance of local people including residents, businesses and churches. 26 letters of objection and three petitions containing nearly 200 signatures were lodged. The application was rejected. The Christian Legal Centre supported efforts to oppose the new plan.
A further application was then made, this time for a sex shop in the town. But earlier this year, councillors rejected it after the Christian Legal Centre again supported local residents in opposing the plans.
In a short video, Rev’d Matthew Payne, Vicar of Christ Church Lowestoft, along with others who objected to the applications, have commented on the victory.
'Strong track record'
The Christian Legal Centre has a strong track record in successfully supporting local residents and churches to challenge sex entertainment venues. Our legal team has prevented the opening of sex establishments in the following towns and cities:
In October 2012 an application for a lap dancing club, at a venue located seconds away from Maidstone town centre in Kent, was rejected. A second application was also rejected for another lap dancing club near a large shopping mall in the Gabriels Hill area, following the support of the Christian Legal Centre.
In September 2011 an application for lap dancing to be hosted on the second floor of the ‘Saints & Sinners’ nightclub was rejected after local business owners and residents, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, argued that such a venue was not suitable in an area where there were schools, churches, shops and homes. More than 1000 letters of objection were received by the council in advance of a hearing on the issue.
In March 2011 a successful challenge was made against an application for a sex entertainment venue to open just yards from St Ebbe’s Church. Although a licence allowing sexual entertainment had been granted for the same venue in 2010, the licensing laws then changed meaning that a new application had to be made for the venue to continue to operate. St Ebbe’s Church campaigned against the 2011 licence application on the basis that many children and young people use their church building each week, and that having such a club in close proximity would not be appropriate. The application was rejected after the Christian Legal Centre supported the Church’s challenge by providing legal assistance and advice.
In January 2010, following a successful campaign by the Christian Legal Centre and others, the council rejected an application for a lap dancing club to open in the town. The application was rejected for failing all four licensing conditions, i.e. the club would promote public nuisance, promote crime and disorder, would fail to promote public safety and would fail to protect children from harm.
In December 2007, local residents in Durham, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, successfully challenged a decision to grant a licence for a lap dancing club in the city. Residents argued against the plans on the basis that the proposed venue would fail to promote public safety, add to the already high levels of nuisance and disorder in the North Road area and harm children both morally and psychologically.
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The Chairman of Lowestoft Town Pastors has said he is unhappy that the Council’s ‘nil policy’ on sex establishments was not referred to when councillors granted a licence for ‘The Candy Lounge’ in the town centre this week.