Local councillors in Cornwall are planning to visit local lap-dancing clubs on a taxpayer funded fact finding mission, prompting fury from local residents.
The proposed visit comes in the wake of tighter Government regulations for the industry which mean that the existing venues will now have to apply for a new licence.
The team of twelve councillors, ten male and two female, claim that the visit will help them be “as informed as possible” about the venues.
But local residents are appalled by the decision.
Tracey Earnshaw, a Newquay resident who has campaigned against local lap-dancing resorts, said: “The committee is not there to form an opinion – the Government has done that.
“So to go on this trip at the taxpayers’ expense makes it particularly galling. The whole thing would be amusing if it wasn’t so fanciful, appalling and unnecessary.”
And Matthew Elliot from the Taxpayers Alliance branded the visit as a “ridiculous exercise”.
But Councillor Jim Flashman attempted to defend the visit saying: “We want to find out how these businesses operate, how safe they are, whether the businesses are considerate neighbours, and who the sorts of people are that use these premises.
“I have never had the need to go to a lap-dancing club, so I really don’t have any idea what goes on in them, or what impact they might have on their neighbourhoods. Hopefully this trip will do that.”
The new regulations, introduced last month, 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, an 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.”
And 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.
The investigation by The Sun newspaper revealed that the girl, who was not named, was allegedly dancing naked behind a screen and taking customers for private dances until 3am.
According to the newspaper’s investigation she had had twelve vodka cocktails and was very drunk.