Gloucester City Council has rejected plans for a sex club for homosexuals and swingers inside a 170-year-old listed building.
The proposal was set to include an “exclusive venue for people with alternative sexual lifestyles”, but a planning committee rejected it by six votes to five.
The development firm behind the plans, Mystique, has now called for a public inquiry, suggesting that the panel members’ religious views had inappropriately influenced the outcome.
The firm wanted to turn the former New County Hotel, which is in the middle of Gloucester, into a restaurant by day and a private sex club at night.
The planning application said the private members’ club would “comprise an exclusive venue for people with alternative sexual lifestyles such as gay men and women, bisexual men and women, transvestites, cross-dressers, cross-genders, variables and swingers”.
A council official said the plans could not be rejected on moral grounds, because moral issues are not “planning matters”.
But the panel voted down the proposal because the club would “not support the existing attractions of Gloucester and does not reinforce Gloucester’s special character and sense of place”.
Mystique told a Gloucester newspaper: “When asked to declare their interests, the planning committee should consider their religious beliefs and step down if they believe their faith will dictate the outcome.”
Susan Johnson addressed the Gloucester city planning committee on behalf of opponents to the plans.
She told the committee: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. You are the good men and women of Gloucester. Please vote against the proposal.”
Other protesters feared the club would attract prostitutes to the centre of Gloucester, turning it into a no-go area at night.