No new sexual entertainment venues can open in Glasgow, council rules

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No new sexual entertainment venues will be allowed to open in Glasgow after the council agreed the permitted number of licences should be zero — but existing premises have been told they can continue to open.

Councillors agreed Glasgow’s lap dancing clubs should be subject to a licensing regime in March last year and then launched a second consultation on the details.

‘Evocative subject’

They have now ruled the “appropriate number” of venues in Glasgow should be zero but grandfather rights will apply to the three clubs in operation before March 24 last year.

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Venues applying for the three-year licences will have to pay a fee of £1792. The licensing regime will come into effect from September 24 this year.

Cllr Alex Wilson, who chairs the licensing committee, said: “This is a very evocative subject and one that has divided a lot of people, but something that Glasgow wants to lead on in terms of trying to get this sorted and over the line.

Existing sexual entertainment venues in Glasgow can stay open.Existing sexual entertainment venues in Glasgow can stay open.
Existing sexual entertainment venues in Glasgow can stay open. | Tony Baggett - stock.adobe.com

“This report is not something that has been brought to committee on a whim, this has been really thoroughly researched.

“We’ve had some superb feedback from the venues themselves, from dancers, and I think it is really important that the committee does take into consideration the people who are actually involved in this industry because they are often maligned and they don’t often get the recognition they deserve either.”

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The Scottish Government granted powers to councils to licence SEVs, and cap the number of licences, in 2019. The venues are described as “any premises at which sexual entertainment is provided before a live audience for (or with a view to) the financial gain of the organiser”.

Consultation

Interested organisations, including Rape Crisis, Scottish Women’s Convention, the GMB union, which has been representing dancers, and Glasgow Violence Against Women, were sent the second consultation, which was also published on the council website.

In total, there were 167 responses to the draft policy statement, which followed 279 responses to an initial consultation in 2019.

Of the respondents, 88 per cent agreed grandfather rights should be given to venues currently in existence when the committee decided to implement a licensing regime.

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A policy statement has also been approved and will be published by the council. It includes no advertising or promotional material that has any “display of nudity” should be used on the exterior of the venue and signs must be “discreet”.

Performers must “always be appropriately clothed when they are outside the venue at any time it is open” and licence holders must explain the conditions of the licence to all staff, including “details of how to report any harassment or violence from customers”.

Glasgow’s licensing committee could refuse a venue’s licence application, even when grandfather rights existed, if there were grounds to do so, the policy statement reveals.

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