THE owner of a lapdancing club has criticised ‘small-minded’ councillors who refused his business planning permission.
Wiggle, in Surrey Street, Landport, could now be facing closure after Portsmouth City Council decided the venue – which has been open for a month – was not in a suitable location.
Members of the planning committee insisted that, although they do not favour more adult entertainment venues opening in the city, their decision was not taken for ‘moral’ reasons.
But businessman Paul Ojla, who also owns the Elegance lapdancing club and OJ’s Discounts, said he could not see any other cause to complain about Wiggle’s location.
‘It is very small-minded of them because legally, we are in the right,’ he said. ‘We have been running lapdancing clubs for 10 years and in that period we have never had any problems.
‘Even the police are happy to have lapdancing clubs because they are the least troublesome clubs there are.
‘We have installed 32 cameras inside and around the building and have bouncers on the door, so we have actually made that area safer.
‘The moral issue is the only thing that people have to complain about, but even that is going these days.
‘We will appeal the decision and I have no doubt we will win.’
Lib Dem councillor Hugh Mason admitted there was a chance the decision would be overturned on appeal, but that the committee had solid grounds for refusing permission.
He said: ‘The main reason was down to the impact on the surrounding area. This venue is in the wrong place.
‘We have a policy of concentrating our late-night venues in one part of the city. If they are spread out across Portsmouth it makes it hard for the police and they will not be able to police these night clubs effectively.’
Cllr Mason added that while he did have a moral objection to lapdancing clubs, he did not take that into account when making his decision.
The club will now remain open until Mr Ojla’s appeal against the ruling has been decided.