To receive the report of the Chief Officer Elections and Regulatory for the consideration of the renewal and variation 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 Whiskey Down, First & Second Floors, 25 Crown Street, Leeds, LS2 7DA.
The report of the Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory set out an application for the renewal of a sex establishment licence for Whisky Down, First & Second Floors, 25 Crown Street, Leeds, LS2 7DA.
In attendance at the meeting were:
· Paddy Whur, representing the applicant
· Marcus Bentley, Manager
· 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 that 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 Tokyo Industries (Lincoln York Hull) Limited to operate under the name Whiskey Down;
· The premises had held a licence for the provision of regulated entertainment and the sale of alcohol over a number of years. On 14th March 2017, Members approved the application for a sexual entertainment venue licence, with premises specific additional conditions;
· 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 been written to regarding the acceptance of two additional conditions as set out in the report and correspondence 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.
Paddy Whur, Informed the Sub Committee of the following:
· The original premises licence granted in 2017, received an excess of 60 objections, due to the nervousness from people in the vicinity;
· Conversations with WYP have identified fewer anti-social behaviour related issues in the area which the operator believes is as a result of the installation of CCTV at the premises. It was reported that crime statistics had reduced in the area and there has been a positive impact;
· The existing policy considers 4 SEVs appropriate;
· Whiskey Down is considered the busiest attracting a female clientele and offers a variety of whiskey and gins;
· Whiskey Down is not open during the day;
· No changes have been made to the operation style of Whiskey Down since the grant of the licence in 2017, nor have there been any changes to the surrounding area to make the premises situated in a sensitive location;
· Public advertisement has been displayed for 21 days and no objections had had been received from any other responsible authorities.
Miriam Moss, from the organisation SARSVL, addressed the Licensing Sub Committee and highlighted the following:
· There hadn’t been any mention of an equality impact assessment;
· It was believed that establishments such as Whiskey Down, directly discriminates against women by normalising the sexual objectification of women;
· It wanted the committee to give consideration to the public sector equality duty and ensure women are not disadvantaged;
· It was of the view of the operator that objections hadn’t been submitted due to people feeling fed up of writing in again;
· There are plenty of bars whom offer a variety of drinks without exploiting women and questioned why the operator felt it needed to have lap dancing at the premises.
In summarising, Mr Whur explained the process which had been gone through for the Licensing Policy to be formed, he confirmed it was a carefully thought out policy which had been consulted on, which had stood up against scrutiny in the High Court. Mr Whur submitted there is no evidence to prove a link between sexual entertainment venues and sexual violence and on that basis, Mr Whur felt it was inappropriate to refuse the renewal for that reason
A Member picked up on a comment in relation to the number of objections received in 2017, and only receiving one this year; no objections had been submitted on behalf of members of the public, and without evidence, this could not be taken into consideration as the committee could only make a decision on the evidence before it today
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.