Durham locals stop lap-dancing licence

Residents in Durham have won their fight against plans to open a lap-dancing club in the historic city.

Local campaigners successfully appealed against Durham City Council’s decision to grant a licence for lap-dancing three nights a week.

It is thought to be the first victory against a lap-dancing application since the law changed in 2003.

The Licensing Act 2003 treats lap-dancing clubs in the same way as cafes and pubs. This has made it difficult for local residents to object to applications.

Assisted by the Christian Legal Centre, three Durham locals argued that the club would undermine the licensing objectives of the 2003 Act.

These include preventing crime and disorder, promoting public safety, preventing public nuisance and protecting children from harm.

Durham Magistrates’ Court agreed, and in December last year ruled that the club should not be given a licence. The campaigners have now received letters from the Royal Courts of Justice to confirm that the case has been closed.

One of the campaigners, Kirsty Thomas, said: “It’s a great success for the local community because although there were only three of us that put our heads on the line, we had tremendous support from everyone.”

The case may help residents in other places use the current rules to object to such clubs, but campaigners say there is still a need for tougher laws.

Labour MP for the City of Durham, Roberta Blackman-Woods, has made an attempt to re-categorise lap-dancing clubs so that they would be subject to tighter licensing rules.

Government Ministers have also written to local councils to find out if the current system could be improved.

The Conservative Party recently announced it would toughen the law if they were in government.