Lap dancing clubs to be banned in region after new licensing rules

Licensing bosses approved a Sex Entertainment Venues policy which restricts all adult entertainment venues.

Lap dancing clubs to be banned in region after new licensing rules iStock

New laws which would see lap dancing clubs banned in East Lothian could be in place by January next year.

Licensing bosses approved plans to draw up a Sex Entertainments Venue (SEV) policy which will see the number of acceptable venues in the local authority restricted to zero.

Councillor Colin McGinn, chairman of the council’s licensing sub-committee, said the decision had been taken to “protect our citizens”.

He said: “We are here to take decisions which protect our citizens and I think this is such a decision.”

The committee was asked to give officers the go ahead to draw up a licensing policy for SEVs after legal advisers warned a lack of policy would allow clubs and venues to open without any controls across the region.

The local authority’s legal adviser Ian Forrest told the committee he was not expecting ”a sudden surge of sex entertainment venues to open across East Lothian”, and was backed by Police Scotland when he said not having a policy left them unable to act.

The committee was asked to indicate how many venues it would allow to open under the new policy and unanimously voted for zero.

The decision means once the new policy is introduced, which is due to be put in place in 12 months time, adult entertainment venues will be banned across East Lothian.

A public consultation on views over the venues, which will cover everything from strip clubs to swingers parties, saw broad support for a licensing policy to be introduced.

The majority of people responding told the council they did not believe anywhere was suitable for sex venues in East Lothian.

Residents in the more affluent east of the county insisted their towns would not be suitable with Gullane, North Berwick, and Dunbar all ruled out by those taking part.

When asked where people thought a suitable location for the clubs and venues could be in East Lothian the majority who named a place pointed to Musselburgh – in the west of the county.

The committee unanimously agreed to have a licensing policy drawn up while indicating it wanted zero to be the number of licences which would be allowed under it.

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