Angry residents vow to fight Southsea strip club plan

Paul Ojla wants to convert the old Conservative Club in Albert Road, Southsea into a strip club
Paul Ojla wants to convert the old Conservative Club in Albert Road, Southsea into a strip club
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DISGRUNTLED residents last night vowed to fight plans to open a new strip club in the heart of the city.

Concerns were aired at a packed meeting at Havelock Community Centre in Fawcett Road, Southsea.

Owner Paul Ojla at the Elegance club in Granada Road, Southsea

Owner Paul Ojla at the Elegance club in Granada Road, Southsea

They come after a bid by businessman Paul Ojla to convert the former Conservative Club in Albert Road, Southsea, into the city’s latest strip joint.

Mr Ojla owns clubs Elegance, in Granada Road, and Wiggle, in Surrey Street. He has submitted a premises licence to the council that he hopes will let him to move Elegance to Albert Road.

But residents vowed to fight this proposal and stop it. Ted Nutland, 67, has lived in the street for 40 years. He said: ‘We don’t want this here. It is going to bring house prices down and make parking worse.’

Retired Kevin Sparrow, 67, of Harold Road, added: ‘Parking is already bad as it as and we have only just got over the noise from the students. This is just going to open a new can of worms.’

The former 'Southsea Conservative Club, Albert Road, Southsea

The former 'Southsea Conservative Club, Albert Road, Southsea

The meeting was staged by Portsmouth’s Labour Party, with members giving residents advice on how to oppose the application. Leading much of it was Charlie Dacke. She said the city council had a ‘nil-cap’ policy in Portsmouth towards sexual entertainment venues.

She added residents could object to the plans on a ‘number of grounds’, including the change of character to the area and impact it could have on children and families.

She said: ‘There’s a strong feeling locally that this licence in Albert Road is inappropriate, but there are also very strong grounds for objecting to it. We set a nil-cap policy in Portsmouth in 2012. That policy clearly states there is no place in Portsmouth that is suitable for a lapdancing club. As a city we need to stick to that.’

Mr Ojla’s two other clubs were operating before this policy. The decision on whether a new club will open in Albert Road is due in March.