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Anger over plans for Bath Road lap dancing club

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 23, 2014

  • Residents unhappy at plans forthe lapdancing club

Comments (12)

FIFTY people have turned out to voice their anger at plans for a lap dancing club to open in Bath Road.

If approved the Voodoo Nightclub would be the first sex entertainment club to open in the town since the Blue Room closed.

Critics have slammed the plans, branding them ‘morally wrong’.

Objectors have concerns for women passing by the club late at night, and a pack mentality of stag groups attracted to the venue creating an intimidating environment.

So far, there have been 196 objections to the plans for the Diamond Gentleman’s Club.

Councillor Garth Barnes, who is chairman of the licensing committee, said he could not support the application.

He said: “I don’t think that a sex club in this part of Cheltenham is appropriate.

“We have had lots of issues over the years with race week when organisations from other towns and cities have been coming in to get sex trade workers working in the town.

“With an established sex club here, we could be facing more of those issues and problems.”

During the meeting, owners of the club Bath Road properties said there was a demand for the service in the town and had successfully applied for temporary licenses for that type of venue during race week.

Pole dance teacher Sian Young used to be a lap dancer and said some of the residents’ concerns are justified.

“I was lucky in a way,” she said.

“I was homeless for seven years so I had a street mentality and can look after myself.

“I did see things happening where bouncers had to get involved.

“There were things that I had to turn away from that I definitely did not want to get involved in.

“It doesn’t come with any blessings.”

The application is gender neutral and did not specify if the venue would have male or females working there.

Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood has also spoken out against the proposal, voicing concerns about the effect on nearby residents.

He said: “The moral questions sadly are not ones that the council can take into account, but the public nuisance concerns and protecting children from harm can be considered.

“If people are uncomfortable with this kind of venue and they will have to avoid it, then it is a public nuisance. As I result I cannot support it.

“It should not be tolerated.

“We all put up with quite a lot of nuisance during race week, but that brings a huge benefit to the town for a short period of a time.

“A permanent venue would be quite different.”

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  • Headache  |  January 27 2014, 11:56PM

    Dear Cheltenham Borough Council I wish to express my deep concern for the above application. There are many issues concerning this type of venue and I will try to brief. Females are not objects and does Cheltenham want to be known for smut and cheap thrills? Women who work in these establishments on the whole become emotionally scarred and full of hatred for men as a result. Does Cheltenham want to be profiting from the sale of female flesh? There is nothing "upmarket" or "gentlemanly" about paying young poor females money to perform naked in front of you. That is exploitation. When the men who use these clubs leave and they will be extremely sexually aroused, or there wouldn't be a point in going in the first place, what do they do with that arousal? They are frustrated that their arousal has been left unfulfilled so any innocent females that may be about could possibly be attacked, raped, insulted or verbally abused by these aroused men. When children walk past, what are they supposed to think about the role of females? These clubs shape the way men view women and how they interact with women in their everyday lives at work and home. it is documented that these type of establishments contribute to violence against women and general lack of respect for women. Please check with the Fawcett Society and End Violence and Women and Girls for evidence of these. They have several reports showing this to be true. In society now there are few places where females are not depicted as sex objects and held up on display, made up and posing provocatively and used to sell everything from magazines to airline flights, would it not be ground breaking and forward thinking for Cheltenham to say "no more". We are going to respect our females residents and visitors and not have a venue which profits from degrading and using women as sex objects. Some London boroughs, with a lot of experience into the effects of having these types of clubs in their boroughs have opted for a zero tolerance of lap dancing clubs. This is after seeing the effects on the community who live and work near them. Their research is proof that this type of club does not promote equality or promote women and girls in a positive light. Girls in care and vulnerable girls will be attracted to this type of work or possibly bullied into by the men who run these establishments and profit from the sale of female flesh. We have seen recently in Wales, Oxford and other towns how men groom vulnerable girls and get them into performing sexual acts and raping them and these girls have stated they had no one to turn to even the authorities charged with their care letting them down. This type of club destroys relationships between fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, men and women. It blurs the lines of how women should be viewed and treated by males and sends a green light to men to disrespect, abuse, degrade and be violent towards females. I urge you in a civilised society to not allow this club a license and to think very carefully about the effects of Cheltenham's image, it's reputation and most importantly it's effect on females resulting the sanction of disrespect and degradation of women by men that this type of club encourages by it's very nature. Yours faithfully, Living in hope that perhaps women's value in society will not be judged on how aroused men get by them

    |   4
  • ThomasTallis  |  January 23 2014, 10:15PM

    If it's to do with the presumed exploitation of women, good. Not so good, if it's to do with 'lowering the tone'. In the Montmartre area of Paris, school children have been seen being taken around the Moulin Rouge and other 'soho' type places by teachers. Sex is natural in these parts.

  • RoadWombat  |  January 23 2014, 5:21PM

    "Clearly the photographer did not tell that dour bunch of people to say, "Cheese!"" They're putting on their 'concerned citizen' face. You usually see it with MPs and councillors posing by a pothole or a 'dangerous' stretch of road. Next is the 'I'm sad' face, which they'll use when the licence looks like getting approved, followed by the 'I'm outraged' face as they all get on the outrage bus when approval is finally granted.

  • TIMONLINE2010  |  January 23 2014, 4:47PM

    Planning notification for this, albeit legal (just!) was extremely minimal with the planning information unavailable online due to a technical hitch! Even the on-site planning notice was wrong and had to be corrected with an extension made necessary. So it's little wonder that so few people objected!

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  • uk_socrates  |  January 23 2014, 3:47PM

    Hmmmm, this is a tricky one. If it does open, I hope the ladies actually get paid!. Also to equal things out maybe they should have a male strip night as well?. At the end of the day no one is forced to go into such a venue. I don't think it is morally wrong either. What about the escort adverts in the back of the Citizen, is that morally wrong? There will always be a percentage of people that would rather work the pole or lap for 4-5 hours for £80-£100 or whatever it is a night, then sit on a till all day for minimum wage? Maybe its money itself that is morally wrong. Whether its people lap-dancing for it, or the bankers in London gambling with billions every day. Alternative view: http://tinyurl.com/njrvoe2

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  • Apothegm_  |  January 23 2014, 1:32PM

    Clearly the photographer did not tell that dour bunch of people to say, "Cheese!"

    |   1
  • jamescrosby1  |  January 23 2014, 12:43PM

    I presume the 50 people that turned out and the 196 that have objected also did the same for the 'butlers in the buff' nights that used to be run in Bottelinos. Somehow i think not.

    |   1
  • ginger_prince  |  January 23 2014, 12:33PM

    Admittedly yes it is a small minority, but it was only reported in the local press some 12 hours or so before no more responses for or against would be counted. I'm sure had more people known or had more notice then there would have been a greater number? There were nearly a thousand names on the petition for a fairer Late Night Levy within Cheltenham yet only some 360 responses to the LNL on a national level population of some 60million so it seems either people a. don't know and aren't informed or maybe b. have no view either way or c. realise that politics will always be about money. We only need to look at the north place car park development where most of the local residents objected yet it was passed, the fact that the roads flood due to blocked drainage systems which are never serviced, the roads are in a terrible state and the bins are regularly over flowing. All these stories have appeared not just in local press, but on a national scale. Councils and governments will always save money cutting corners where they can as opposed to providing a better service. A little off subject, but I've dealt with the council and government officials on many levels and always get the same generic waffle!

  • Matt1006  |  January 23 2014, 10:53AM

    196 objectors, out of a Borough population of 115,600. Quite a small minority against it, then. Of course it doesn't mean the other 115,404 are in favour, but it does mean the overwhelming majority aren't really fussed, or they too would be objecting...

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  • ginger_prince  |  January 23 2014, 10:23AM

    Even though i'm not overly for or against such a venture operating within the town it would seem that due to the fact the council won't reject the application on 'moral grounds' and even with almost 200 objections it seems that money raised in licensed revenue will always far out weigh public opinion. as for Mr Martin Horwood being against it i'm afraid his liberal democrat councilors will be brought in by the whip and vote in favour of such a license being granted so his voice will be lost as it was when saying he was against the Late Night Levy yet his councilors came out in force to vote for said implementation even though many of them voiced concerns regarding several issues they were uncomfortable with yet still voted in favour as they were instructed to do so. Maybe they'd sit a bit more comfortably with a semi nude woman...or man (sexual equality and ll that) sat upon their lap in the coming months...and probably at the tax payers expense no doubt!!!?