Glasgow’s three lap dancing clubs are set to find out this week whether they will receive the first licences under a new regime.
Councillors agreed the city’s sexual entertainment venues (SEVs) should be subject to a licensing regime last year after new powers were granted to councils by the Scottish Government in 2019.
In March, they ruled no new SEVs would be allowed in Glasgow, setting the permitted number of licences at zero. Grandfather rights apply to current venues, meaning the three city clubs in operation before March last year could continue to open.
Seventh Heaven, Diamond Dolls and Platinum Lace have now applied for the first SEV licences, which would run for three years, and are expected to appear before councillors on Wednesday.
The council’s SEV policy stated the licensing committee could refuse an application, even when grandfather rights exist, if there are grounds to do so.
Glasgow’s licensing committee will hear from council officials and Scottish Fire and Rescue before making a decision. There is an objection from Glasgow Violence Against Women Partnership and a representation from Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership while the applicants will also have an opportuniy to be heard.
When the council agreed on the number of venues, councillor Alex Wilson, who chairs the licensing committee, said: “This is a very evocative subject and one that has divided a lot of people, but something that Glasgow wants to lead on in terms of trying to get this sorted and over the line.”
He said the issue had been “thoroughly researched” with “superb feedback from the venue themselves, from dancers”. “I think it is really important the committee does take into consideration the people who are actually involved in this industry,” he added.
Successful applicants will need to pay a fee of £1,792 for the three-year licence and the regime will come into effect from September 24.
The council’s policy statement sets out conditions of a licence, including no advertising or promotional material that has any “display of nudity” on the exterior of the venues. It also ensures signs are kept “discreet”.
Performers must “always be appropriately clothed when they are outside the venue at any time it is open” and licence holders are required to explain the conditions of the licence to all staff, including how to report any harassment or violence from customers.
The licensing regime also aims to protect performers and prevent crime in the venues, with an appropriate code of conduct for customers needed in prominent areas. A refusals log must be held, recording when a person is refused entry, and made available to Police Scotland or the council on request.
Performers must also be provided with “secure and private” changing facilities and private booths “must not be fully enclosed”.