Fears raised as lapdancing club eyes up move to Albert Road

The former Southsea Conservative Club in Albert Road
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FEARS have been raised about a lapdancing club’s bid to move to a bustling Southsea street.

Elegance wants to move from Granada Road to Albert Road, next to The Wedgewood Rooms.

Paul Ojla, director of Elegance and landlord of Elegance’s existing venue, said the move would see it move into a more commercial area.

But community leaders feel it will damage the character of the road and put shops off from wanting to open there.

Jenni Catlow, chairwoman of Albert Road Traders’ Association, said: ‘This will make Albert Road undesirable and horrible.

‘We’re trying to make it look interesting with all the different things that we do and now we are being smacked in the teeth with this application.

‘The area is already saturated with licensed venues.

‘We need more day-time trade not night-time.’

The Albert Road site was formerly home to Southsea Conservative Club, which was not affiliated to the Tory party.

If approved, a bar would go on the ground floor and lapdancing would take place on the floor above.

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘I strongly object to this application.

‘Albert Road is an area of special interest with independent shops. It’s not a normal high street.’

The application comes despite licensing policy adopted by the council in 2012 stipulating existing lapdancing clubs could only move premises if there were issues with the building and employees’ safety. But Mr Ojla said he is confident the council will give approval.

He said: ‘There already is a night-time economy in Albert Road, whereas Granada Road has died out because the seafront is dead.

‘It’s not going to affect the day-time trade in Albert Road because we will only be open at night.’

Geoff Priestley, manager of the Wedgewood Rooms, was unavailable for comment.

A decision will be made by the council at a later date.