A group of local councillors has gone on a fact-finding visit to a lap-dancing club, despite residents expressing outrage when the visit was first mooted.
Cornwall Council’s Miscellaneous Licensing Committee and three council officers went to the Temptations T2 club on 29 June.
The trip was to help the Committee make decisions on new licensing laws regarding lap-dancing clubs, according to the Chairman of the Committee, but a Newquay resident has described the trip as “appalling”.
The visit comes in light of a change by the last Government, who gave local councils more power to act when residents complain about lap-dancing clubs.
The Taxpayers Alliance criticised the trip when it was proposed saying: “If they really feel they need to make this visit, why not send one member to go and then report back – at least then they would be spending less taxpayers’ money on this ridiculous exercise.”
Newquay resident Tracy Earnshaw, who has campaigned against local lap-dancing clubs, has said the trip, at taxpayers’ expense, is “galling”.
She said: “The whole thing would be amusing if it wasn’t so fanciful, appalling and unnecessary.”
Committee chairman Jim Flashman said the trip to the Plymouth venue “has clarified many questions for the committee and will enable us to make fully informed decisions in the future”.
Councillor Scott Mann commented: “I want to make sure I am as well-informed as possible about issues which will have an impact on a lot of people.”
A Cornwall Council spokesman said the group wanted to go to a club outside the county to avoid any future clashes with businesses which may come before the committee. The spokesman also said they did not watch any ‘entertainment’.
The new lap-dancing regulations mean that lap-dancing clubs will have to apply for a sex establishment licence to operate.
Previously residents could object for licensing reasons only, such as crime and disorder, nuisance, public safety and protecting children.
But now people in England and Wales are able to oppose an application for a club on the basis that it would be inappropriate for the local area.
In February a former lap-dancer revealed how girls, some under the age of 18, are routinely pushed to perform sexual acts on men in lap-dancing clubs in order to make the job pay.
In a candid interview with The Times, the ex-lap-dancer called Milly shattered the myth that the practice “is no more than dancing”.
“No one sticks to that,” she said. “And if you do, you quickly lose out.”
In March it was revealed that a 14-year-old schoolgirl had been discovered performing naked in a lap-dancing club while her mother thought she was at a friend’s sleepover.