'Low-profile' Wakefield lap dancing club allowed to keep running

Wakefield's only lap dancing club has had its licence renewed for another 12 months.

Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 4:15 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 4:19 pm
PC Lounge is located "discreetly" within Brickworks on Westgate.

PC Lounge, which is located within Brickworks bar on Westgate, was first granted permission to open in 2015, on the condition it operated discreetly and did not promote itself in public or on social media.

On Wednesday, the club's managers attended a hearing to ask for their sexual entertainment licence to be renewed, after one objection from a nearby resident living in White Rose Apartments on Bank Street.

The neighbour, who did not attend the hearing, had complained about noise from the venue as well as an "unsightly waste build up" of cardboard and broken glass outside.

The lap dancing venue opened in 2015.

But PC Lounge's solicitor, Jonathan Smith, argued that the issue of noise related to Brickworks itself, and not to the part of the building covered by the lap dancing licence, where music is played more quietly.

He also said that the club had tried to meet with the objector to discuss their concerns, but that request was declined.

Mr Smith said: "When this person moved into the area, they would have known what it's like. Westgate between 11pm and 4am can hardly be described as a quiet place.

"Anyone moving onto Westgate is not moving into the countryside to enjoy the ringing of cow bells and the sound of birds singing, with the best will in the world."

A total of 11 elected councillors and four residents had opposed the opening of PC Lounge in 2015, as well as Wakefield Council's own regeneration team.

However, no objections were registered in 2016 or 2017 when the licence was reviewed and Mr Smith said the club had abided by all of the rules imposed by the local authority.

"If you walk past Brickworks, you don't know it (PC Lounge) is there," he told councillors.

"There's no signage, there's no advertising and there's nothing about it on social media.

"It's very discreet, and it's kept a low profile, as you wanted it to do. We've had no trouble with the police at all."

The objector had also cited a 2003 report which he claimed criticised the impact of lap dancing clubs on crime levels and on women, but Mr Smith said that report was no longer relevant because of new laws.

Conservative councillor Margaret Holwell told the committee she had objected to the lap dancing licence when it was first given four years ago, but that she no longer opposed its business.

She said: "At the time it was in a conservation area and we were trying to regenerate that area of Wakefield. That work's been completed now.

"I no longer have any objections to the way you conduct your business."