A HUGELY controversial strip club in Hounslow town centre is set to close less than four months after opening, it is understood.
Mist Gentlemen's Club only opened in November last year at the old Riley's snooker hall in the west end of the High Street.
However, owner Pritpal Dhiman is understood to have called it a day because he believed tougher rules on sex clubs would eventually force him out of business anyway.
At a meeting of Hounslow Council's licensing committee last night, licensing manager Gary O'Shea said Mr Dhiman feared the effect of new legislation already adopted by many councils.
"He believes, rightly or wrongly, that the council will adopt (the new legislation) and he will have to reapply (for a licence) in a year's time," Mr O'Shea told councillors.
"He doesn't want to throw good money after bad if he's going to be forced to close in a year anyway."
The club's opening sparked fury among many nearby residents, who were angry they had not been consulted about the application. They collected a 900-signature petition calling for the venue's closure.
The council insisted its hands were tied because the application had already been granted and a licence cannot be refused on moral grounds.
However, councillors met last night to discuss whether to adopt new licensing laws giving them the power to outlaw sex clubs in certain parts of the borough.
The new regulations have already been adopted by many councils, including Hammersmith and Westminster.
Councillors in Hounslow rejected the move last September, just days before Mist was granted a licence. At the time they feared it could pave the way for hundreds of unregulated sex shows at pubs and clubs across the borough.
However, the club's opening forced them to think again and last night they voted unanimously to adopt the regulations under the new Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. A final decision will be made at the next borough council meeting.
If, as expected, the legislation is adopted, the council can choose to ban sex clubs within certain areas or within a certain distance of schools or homes.
Any existing clubs would be forced to reapply for a licence within one year of the new rules coming into force.
Mr Dhiman was unavailable for comment. The Mist website says: "Closed for refurbishment. Mujra dance coming soon. Watch this space."