NEW rules making it much harder for strip clubs, sex shops and blue cinemas to open could be introduced.

There are currently no such adult venues in the borough but new proposals would make it very difficult for any to open in future.

Hounslow's licensing committee agreed on Monday (March 11) to set the 'appropriate maximum' number of sexual entertainment venues at zero.

Councillor Ed Mayne, cabinet member for community safety and regulation, said: "Sex clubs fuel a culture which demeans women – which is dangerous for society as a whole. This council's message is clear – sex clubs are not welcome here."

The move would not be an absolute ban on such establishments opening, but it would put the onus on applicants to demonstrate why the council should depart from its zero-tolerance policy.

The council adopted the Local Governnment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 two years ago, giving the public a greater say over applications for lap dancing clubs and other adult venues.

Objections could previously only be considered on specific grounds, including crime, safety and nuisance, but other factors like the proximity of schools and places of worship can now be taken into account.

The new regulations proposed would be the first to specifically limit the number of sexual entertainment venues of any type considered acceptable in the borough.

A public consultation on the changes will now take place. Should they get public backing, they will have to be rubber-stamped by full borough council before taking effect.

The borough's only strip club, in Hounslow High Street closed last year after losing its bid for a 24-hour licence in what was the first test of the council's new regulations.

There had been outrage when the club was allowed to open in 2010 despite a 912-signature petition opposing the application. Councillors claimed their hands were tied by the old licensing rules.

New regulations adopted the following year made it harder for sex venues to open but allowed pubs and clubs to host sex shows up to 11 times a year without the need for permission.