A sex shop in Cornwall has been granted a licence despite its location next door to a school uniform shop and in the face of much local opposition.
Listen to a BBC interview with the manager of the school uniform shop (Broadcast on Friday 27 August)
The firm Mrs Palm Limited wants to open a sex shop in Truro, but many have expressed concern about the plans.
However Cornwall Council’s miscellaneous licensing committee gave the store the go-ahead at a meeting on Friday.
Vicky Trevail, who manages the school uniform shop next to the site, said in July that the sex shop was “distasteful”.
She said children as young as three are going in and out of her shop.
“We don’t want something like that next door”, she commented, remarking: “We’re a cathedral city, we live in a nice street here and we’re all friendly and neighbourly”.
A local news website reported a 700-name petition had been gathered and 90 complaints had been made.
One mum said she was concerned her children would see the sex shop when going into the school uniform shop.
“I don’t think it’s right to have a shop like that and I’m sad to see it happening in Truro”, said Siobhan Ward.
A spokesman for the sex shop company said that “standard rules” mean “nothing that will cause offence can be displayed in the window”.
Cornwall Council’s licensing committee was recently criticised for going on a fact-finding visit to a lap-dancing club in another county.
Newquay resident Tracy Earnshaw, who has campaigned against local lap-dancing clubs, said the trip, at taxpayers’ expense, was “galling”.
She said: “The whole thing would be amusing if it wasn’t so fanciful, appalling and unnecessary.”
Chairman of the licensing committee, Councillor Jim Flashman, attempted to defend the visit when it was first reported 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.”