Strip club owner vows renewed fight after bid to move to Albert Road is blocked

Elegance in Granada Road, Southsea
Elegance in Granada Road, Southsea
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TRADERS have welcomed news that a bid to move a strip club on to a shopping street has been thrown out.

An application to move Elegance stripclub from Granada Road, Southsea to a building next to the Wedgewood Rooms in Albert Road was turned down by Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee.

Hundreds of people had signed a petition against the plan saying that it was not an appropriate location.

Albert Road Traders’ Association chairwoman Jenni Catlow said she was delighted with the decision.

She said: ‘To have a business that’s flaunting sexual activities wouldn’t be very good for the road.

‘We’ve worked hard to build a cohesive atmosphere with the daytime and nighttime traders working together.

‘This sort of business would bring people seeking to have a good time in the wrong way to Albert Road, and it countermands everything we’re trying to achieve.’

Councillor Michael Andrewes said he collected a 350-name petition against the proposal in just two days, and there were another 200 signatures on other petitions.

He said: ‘It’s good to see that common sense prevailed.

‘It would have been totally inappropriate for the street.’

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson added: ‘We’ve been successful in making Albert Road a place with lots of different shops and having a lap dancing location there would be absolutely wrong.

‘They said they wanted to move the club but in planning terms you can’t do that, so it would have effectively given them permission for a second club.’

Cllr Luke Stubbs also opposed the plan, saying stripclubs were better suited to the city centre.

He said: ‘To relocate to Albert Road isn’t really a solution to the problem.

‘It is currently in amongst a lot of houses and clubs, but if its plan is to relocate it should be towards Guildhall Walk.’

Cllr Linda Symes said: ‘The reason why we all worked so hard to get Guildhall Walk up and running was to get this type of venue away from residential streets’.

But owner Paul Ojla said he would appeal the decision, saying it was made for the wrong reasons.

Mr Ojla said: ‘The decision seems to have been made on moral grounds rather than technical or legal grounds.

‘The councillors were all looking at the lap dancing side of it, but what they were forgetting was that downstairs was going to be a very upmarket bar.’

Mr Ojla, who also runs Wiggle stripclub in Surrey Street, Landport, said he wanted the planned venue to be a recreation of Harry Limes, a showbar in the early 90s which eventually transformed into nightclub, The Lounge, which Mr Ojla also owns.

He said: ‘I really wanted to take it back to the Harry Limes days.

‘Everyone I spoke to thought it was a good thing to do, but I think the councillors looked at it in the wrong way.’