NEW laws giving Hillingdon Council greater control over lap dancing clubs and other 'sex entertainment venues' in the borough are set to be ushered in.
At a Cabinet meeting this Thursday (17), it will be recommended that the council implement part of the Policing and Crime Act 2009, which gives local authorities more power to determine the number and location of strip clubs and similar venues in the area.
The act also introduces the 'catch-all' category of 'sexual entertainment venues', widening the remit under which certain establishments.
The new provisions would enable them to actively prevent 'sex establishments' from opening up near schools or places of worship, or in an unsuitable 'locality' – an area defined at the council's discretion when deciding on an application.
At the moment, lap dancing and strip tease venues are regulated under the 2003 Licensing Act – the same rules and scrutiny that restaurants or cafés are subject to if they want to stage live music.
The Cabinet meeting report highlights the urgency of the matter and states: "If control is not introduced in Hillingdon, the Council would be at risk for allowing premises to operate as sex establishments without any ability to regulate, which could potentially see the number of establishments rise."
Hillingdon Council were given an April 6 deadline to start the process of introducing the legislation, after which time they would be have to consult residents on whether to proceed with the changes.
The adoption of the new regulations could be officially rubberstamped in July, and come into force in August 2012. It is estimated that five existing adult entertainment venues – including the Woolpack in Dawley Road, Hayes - would have to apply for new licences under the provisions, the joint third highest number of qualifying establishments in London.
The Food Health and Safety team currently charge a fee of £1925.50 – amongst the cheapest in London - but this would go up to £2300 under the new rules, generating £11500 in extra revenue.
The owners of The De Burgh Arms pub, in Station Road, West Drayton, were fined last November after staging lap dancing events and exceeding the terms of their temporary events license.
What do you think? Email email@example.com with your thoughts.