Owner says he won’t give up lapdance plan

Paul Ojla, who owns Elegance gentlemen's club in Southsea

Paul Ojla, who owns Elegance gentlemen's club in Southsea

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A BUSINESSMAN whose plan to move his lapdancing club was foiled this week says he hasn’t given up the fight – and will launch an appeal even if it costs taxpayers money.

Paul Ojla is behind the scheme to move Elegance from Granada Road in Southsea into the former Conservative Club building in Albert Road.

Council officers gave the plan their blessing, but councillors turned it down, saying it would be an inappropriate addition to the shopping street.

Mr Ojla said: ‘I feel like we have been treated unfairly.

‘We’re definitely going to appeal, and we’re confident we’ll win, which will cost the council. I’m surprised that the councillors voted against the new club as their planning officers recommended it for approval.’

Mr Ojla believes the council’s decision to reject the lapdancing club will be an expensive one.

He said: ‘The council has wasted not only my money, but also the taxpayers’ money, as the appeal process is costly.’

Mr Ojla, who also operates a lapdancing club in Surrey Street, Landport, feels the council’s decision was unjust.

He said: ‘There were similar objections before we opened on Surrey Street with people saying it would cause a nuisance to the area, but in fact crime rates dropped significantly.’

The Albert Road building used to be a Conservative Club but has been vacant for several years.

Mr Ojla said: ‘Surely it’s better to have a business in operation than another empty shop front?’

Councillor Suzy Horton, who opposed the plans, said: ‘I feel it is inappropriate for the area, with schools nearby.

‘The club’s proposed hours also see it potentially open until 4am which would have a negative impact on the area as nowhere else on Albert Road is open at that time. Even if the club is not trying to attract party-goers like it insists, then it will only add to another problem – parking.’

Mr Ojla believes the decision to reject his latest business was based on preconceived stereotypes of gentlemen’s clubs.

He said: ‘There is a perception that a seedy strip club will open, encouraging noise and trouble but that’s just not how we operate.

‘We feel it’s the right place for a lapdancing club and will go ahead and appeal, and we are confident in doing so.’

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