Sex shop makes a deal with new Plymouth school to protect pupils
THE head of a new school and the owners of a long-established city sex shop have struck a bargain to 'protect children'.
Many of the pupils going to the new Plymouth School of Creative Arts would have walked past Slinkies in Manor Street, the city council's licensing committee heard yesterday.
Carole Reynolds, owner of Slinkies, was applying to renew the shop's licence, under stricter new controls introduced last year.
Mr Mitchell, the store manager, told the committee that Slinkies, which is just off Union Street, had reduced the signs displayed outside the shop.
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He said they had installed CCTV in the entrance lobby which would allow staff to prevent people loitering and stop children from coming inside.
"If you walk a few feet from the premises only the main fascia board is visible," he said.
The business had traded from the same premises for more than 40 years, he added.
"In all that time there has never been an occasion when the police have had to attend, or a complaint has been made."
Dave Strudwick, headteacher designate of the school, which will open its doors from September, opposed granting of the licence.
He told the committee that the entrance to the shop was less than 400ft from the planned school.
"It's about the tone, character and aspirations of the area."
Professor Andrew Brewerton, principal of Plymouth College of Art and director of the new school, wrote to the committee objecting to the licence.
He said that with the arrival of the school in the area "activities that were once considered appropriate on Union Street need to be re-examined".
Mr Mitchell offered to alter the shop's opening times to suit the school.
He and Mr Strudwick were given time to negotiate privately and they agreed that the shop would open at 9.30am and would close between 3.15pm and 4.15pm in the first year of the school and until 4.30pm from the second year.
Slinkies was granted a licence including the new opening hours, which will not come into force until September this year.
Pupils aged up to seven will be taught in the Cargo building from September this year while the new campus is built on the empty site next door.
The main school is expected to open in September 2014, subject to planning permission and final Government funding approval.
The school is a free school backed by Plymouth College of Art and funded by the Department for Education. Free schools, similar to academies, operate outside the local authority's control and can set their own budgets and staff wages and conditions.
The first primary intake will be of 150 pupils: 60 in the Reception year, 60 in Year 1 and 30 in Year 2.
The secondary years open in 2014 with an intake of 240 pupils: 120 pupils into Year 7 and 120 pupils into Year 8.