A sex shop in Tunbridge Wells – which is close to several schools – has had its licence renewed despite many objections from local residents.
A borough council meeting decided yesterday that the shop which controversially opened in 2006 can keep trading.
Local mayor Jacqui Jedrzejewski has backed criticism from residents, who say the shop contributes to the “sexualisation” of children.
She objected to the plans first time around and is continuing the fight, saying the nearby schools make it an inappropriate location for the adult shop.
She said: “It’s on a major school route and although, in all fairness, they do obscure the windows, the fact remains it’s an adult shop on the main thoroughfare – which school children walk past at least four times per day.”
She added: “I don’t think there’s any more support for it now than there was in the early days.”
The shop is on a route used by pupils from several schools, including two primary schools.
Local resident Doreen Rogerson, 84, said she was against the sex shop licence being renewed on moral grounds.
She said: “I want to protect the children in our community. We definitely plan to object every year that the sex shop has to apply for their licence to be renewed. We’re not going to go away.”
A barrage of objections to the licence renewal application were posted on the council website, with the shop’s location being the main complaint.
One former teacher said she was “dismayed” such a shop should be in the vicinity of so many schools, another post read: “Our youngsters need to be shielded from the seedy side of sex”.
Another objector said adults had a duty to protect children from “early sexualisation”.
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s own policy on licensing sex shops says they will “consider the impact of such premises” on “access routes to and from schools”.