Portsmouth sex clubs get the all clear to keep giving out flyers

Portsmouth lapdancing club Wiggle
Portsmouth lapdancing club Wiggle
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Credit: Wiki Commons (labelled for reuse)

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SEX club owners in Portsmouth have won a small victory over the council, which had proposed a ban on handing out flyers.

Members of Portsmouth’s City Council’s licensing panel decided that stopping them from promoting themselves and distributing flyers was unfair – especially when pubs and clubs are allowed to.

Their rules are less strict because they only hold an alcohol licence.

Recommendations that sexual entertainment performers should be banned from corridors where they work was also thrown out.

It was also felt that signs already in place at sex clubs were fine and in some ways less provocative than other venues.

Instead, the committee agreed any external displays can only be displayed with prior approval, entry fees must be visible outside, and soliciting custom is not permitted.

The conditions apply to all types of sexual entertainment venue, including sex clubs, shops and cinemas.

Paul Ogla, owner of lapdancing clubs Wiggle, in Surrey Street, Landport, and Elegance, in Granada Road, Southsea, said he was happy with the way things had turned out.

‘We have got a great result,’ he said.

‘The council’s been very fair. A lot of the conditions are ones we already abide by anyway.

‘It was the restriction in terms of promoting and advertising that I wasn’t happy about. We don’t do anything sleazy, I wouldn’t allow that.’

The council voted last year to keep sex venues already being run in the city, but decided it would veto applications for more unless there was good reason.

Councillor April Windeback said imposing all of the restrictions would have been a bad idea.

‘We kept these sex establishments because they are run well. They are very strict. We’ve said they can carry on, but now we’re saying you can’t run your business like you want.’

But Sarah Bland, chairwoman of Solent Feminist Network, said in a statement she was happy with everything that had been proposed.

‘In terms of the premises appearance, we fully support the recommendations,’ she said.

‘Wiggle’s current signage is wholly inappropriate, particularly when you consider how many individuals, particularly children, are exposed to it whilst in the Commercial Road area.’

The council wanted to tighten up its rules on sex entertainment venues to make sure it was in line with other areas. Sex venues in the city aren’t officially regulated at the moment, but the list of conditions which have now been put together will help to form a new sex entertainment licence which will be issued to operators.