Strict new rules for Plymouth sex shops and strip clubs
LAP dancers will be strictly forbidden from touching their customers under tough new controls on sex shops, lap-dancing clubs and strip shows.
Contact between performers and customers is banned, other than an introductory handshake or kiss, or when a tip is placed in their garter, armband or hand.
Earlier this year Plymouth city councillors approved new rules allowing only one sex shop or cinema and two sex entertainment venues in Union Street.
The city centre will be allowed just one sex shop and no sexual entertainment venues.
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Now councillors are being asked to give the nod to 11 pages of conditions that will govern exactly what goes on behind closed doors.
Lap dancing and pole dancing clubs previously only needed a licence to cover the sale of alcohol, playing music and dancing.
The new policy, adopted in January this year, reflects changes in the law which now class lap dancing and pole dancing clubs as "sex establishments", needing a special licence, like sex shops and sex cinemas.
Residents are now able to object on much wider grounds – for example, if they feel a club is not in keeping with the area or is too close to a school or church. Up to now they have been able to operate in much the same way as a café or restaurant and residents have had limited grounds to object.
The policy – which will be debated by Plymouth City Council's licensing committee next Tuesday – says sexual entertainment venues are not allowed to stage performances on Sundays, Good Friday, Easter Sunday or Christmas Day, and no one under 18 is allowed in as a customer or a performer.
During table or lap dancing the audience must stay in their seats and not take part.
Performers are not allowed to simulate sex acts. In fact, physical contact between dancers, or between customers and performers, during a performance is not allowed at all.
Customers are not allowed to photograph, record, film or electronically transmit any performance – but performances will have to be recorded on CCTV, and made available to police or a council officer.
Performers must stay at least a metre from customers, and they are not allowed to accept or give a phone number, business card or note.
Places offering massage services will have to keep a register of their performers, recording their real name and address.
Passers by must not be able to see into a sex shop and the kind of advertising allowed on the outside of a shop, club or cinema is strictly limited. Sex shops must have disabled access.
An existing operator's new licence will run from March 5 next year. A one-year licence will cost £3,900, and the annual renewal fee will be £3,200.