Licence renewed for controversial lap dancing club in Portsmouth

A CONTROVERSIAL lap dancing club in Portsmouth will continue to trade despite objections from residents over the safety of women.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 4:28 pm
Paul Ojla who owns the Elegance club in Southsea. Picture: Ian Hargreaves ( 120861-4)

The directors of Elegance in Granada Road, Southsea, won approval from city councillors for its licence renewal.

As part of the licence, the venue - which closed temporarily at the start of the pandemic - will be able to open from 10pm until 4am and serve drinks until 3am.

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A total of 83 objections against the licence renewal were sent into Portsmouth council over the matter.

Shonagh Dillon, chief executive at campaigning domestic abuse charity Aurora New Dawn, said the club was in a ‘highly inappropriate locality’.

Speaking at a licensing committee meeting she said: ‘It is next to two schools and a church.

‘The area is also rife with vulnerable adults and multi-occupancy dwellings.

‘Women have told you at previous hearings that they are harassed outside it, which clearly affects their ability to use the area comfortably, if at all.’

Her thoughts were echoed by former resident of the area, Charlie, who kept her surname anonymous under a sexual entertainment venue act.

‘I used to live at the bottom of Waverley Road and because I am a woman the location became a no-go area for me,’ she said.

‘The council has swooping powers to refuse licences on the ground of locality. It’s time this club in the beautiful heart of Southsea is removed.’

However, solicitor Jon Wallsgrove, speaking on behalf of club directors Jaspal Ojla – known as Paul – and Rashwinder Kaur Ojla, said: ‘The case has been heard numerous times, it’s been opposed numerous times and on every occasion I was in front of the committee for a licence renewal no new evidence has been brought to show there has been a negative impact on the locality and the character of premises in the vicinity.

‘The location hasn’t changed for many many years. The premises hasn’t been closed for four years as stated by some objections - it was closed in March 2020. It was open and was operating and clearly not having an impact if people thought it was shut.’

Councillors ruled in favour of the licence stating there was not an excess of sexual entertainment venues in the area and that the police had no objections.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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