Sex club petitions can be legally ignored by councils

Residents’ petitions against sex clubs can be legally ignored by councils after the Government weakened its original plans.

Gordon Brown pledged two years ago to give citizens more say over what happened in their local area.

He said the plan was to introduce “a more formal petitioning system which would provide another way to strengthen the ability of communities to have a legitimate voice and direct influence on local authority decision-making”.


However, under proposals released on Tuesday, councils will be able to ignore petitions on some of the most controversial issues, including lap-dancing clubs.

The Conservatives responded by saying taxpayers were being thwarted.

The Tory Communities and Local Government secretary, Caroline Spelman, said: “This is a snub to local taxpayers’ ability to protect their local amenity and quality of life.

“Gordon Brown’s petition pledge is a sham.”


Last year residents who objected to a sex club in an 170-year-old Gloucester building succeeded after the council decided the club didn’t fit in with the local environment.

The sex club was set to be an “exclusive venue for people with alternative sexual lifestyles”, but a planning committee rejected it by six votes to five.

The council panel voted down the proposal on grounds that the club “does not support the existing attractions of Gloucester and does not reinforce Gloucester’s special character and sense of place”.


In February it was revealed that lap-dancing clubs, casinos and betting shops are increasing in number in the UK, while the number of libraries and schools is falling.

The statistics were called a modern day Domesday Book, with critics saying they showed the “decline of traditional Britain”.

The number of lap-dancing clubs has increased from 24 to 300 since 1997, but the number of public libraries has shrunk by six per cent in the same period.

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