To consider the report of the Chief Officer Elections and Regulatory for the renewal of a sex establishment licence for the provision of sexual entertainment in the form of lap dancing. This application is made by TRL Promotions Limited for a premises to operate under the name of Silks, 2 Sovereign Place, Leeds, LS1 4SP.
The report of the Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory set out an application for the renewal of a sex establishment licence for Silks, 2 Sovereign Place, Leeds, LS1 4SP.
In attendance at the meeting were:
· Elizabeth Mary Morris, Licence holder
· Rebecca Ingram, Representing the applicant
· Gerry Drammeh, Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS)
· Miriam Moss, Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds (SARSVL)
· Alison Boydell, Observing in support of the objector
The Legal Officer informed the Committee of correspondence which had been sent to Members from an anonymous person and SARSVL. Members had disregarded the information and would not be using the evidence, in the making of their decision.
The Licensing Sub Committee were advised of the following points:
· The application was made by TRL Promotions Limited to operate under the name Silks;
· The premises had held a licence for the provision of regulated entertainment and the sale of alcohol since 13th March 2009. It is understood that lap dancing had been held at the premises since that time;
· Silks is one of four venues in the city centre which has a licence for sexual entertainment;
· The hours of operation are:
o 22:00hrs until 04:00hrs Sunday to Thursday
o 22:00hrs until 05:00hrs Friday and Saturday
· The application had attracted an objection from the organization Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds.
· It was noted that no observations had been received from West Yorkshire Police concerning the application.
Members were made aware that the applicant had confirmed they wished to amend the application to incorporate two additional conditions as set out in the report and the correspondence agreement at Appendix F.
The additional conditions were:
· When the licence holder employs a subcontractor, no person under the age of 18 years of age shall carry out work for or on behalf of the venue, whether paid or unpaid, which includes advertising promotional work such as flyering, etc.
· The licence holder will carry out verification checks of all staff employed or subcontracted by the premises and will maintain a recorded log which is kept up to date of all checks made including forms of identification checked. The record log shall be produced immediately on request to call police constable or officer of the Licensing Authority.
Rebecca Ingram Informed the Members of the following:
· The policy permitted there to be 4 sexual entertainment venues and deems this to be appropriate;
· It was the operators belief that lap dancing clubs did not have the ability to instil fear, and welfare is a primary concern in the operation of Silks;
· Silks has CCTV installed, including in the booths and there are panic buttons to ensure safety of dancers and customers;
· Behaviour permitting people to feel uncomfortable would not be permitted and there are staff employed to further ensure the safety of workers and customers;
· Silks is located within close proximity to office buildings but that these tend to be closed during the opening hours of the premises. Silks is not located near any sensitive areas and the exterior of the premises is discrete;
· The licence holder had held their licence for 10 years and following the annual review from LCC in 2009, there hadn’t been any changes to the premises.
Miriam Moss, from the organization SARSVL, addressed the Licensing Sub Committee and highlighted the following:
· The club doesn’t provide any equal opportunities for women in the workplace and establishments such as Silks, directly discriminate against women by normalising the sexual objectification of women;
· Given the nature of operation, there hadn’t been any mention of an equality impact assessment;
· The Local Authority is to take into consideration the public sector equality duty and to ensure that women are not disadvantaged and put in a vulnerable situation.
Rebecca Ingram reiterated the existing policy determines that 4 SEVs is an appropriate number for Leeds and that the decision of the application should be determined upon existing grounds of the policy
In responding to a question from a Member, Miriam had the view that women hadn’t submitted their submissions as they may have felt uncomfortable and did not want to be associated with any potential problems. Members noted that public advertisement had been displayed for 28 days and no objection had been received from members of the public nor West Yorkshire Police and on that basis, could not form their decision based upon objections which hadn’t been submitted.
Members were informed;
- Silks operates as pay on the door;
- It has female clientele as well as male.
RESOLVED- To grant the licence as applied for with the additional 2 conditions:
1. When the licence holder employs a subcontractor, no person under the age of 18 years of age shall carry out work for or on behalf of the venue, whether paid or unpaid, which includes advertising promotional work such as flyering, etc.
2. The licence holder will carry out verification checks of all staff employed or subcontracted by the premises and will maintain a recorded log which is kept up to date of all checks made including forms of identification checked. The record log shall be produced immediately on request to call police constable or officer of the Licensing Authority.