Southsea lapdancing club to reopen after its licence is renewed - despite campaigners' concerns

A SOUTHSEA lapdancing club will reopen after councillors approved its licence renewal, despite objections from residents.

Monday, 10th June 2019, 6:04 pm
Owner of Elegance in Garanda Road, Southsea, Paul Ojla

Today (June 10) Elegance in Granada Road won its bid to continue trading as a sexual entertainment venue.

Prior to the meeting five objections were made to the council with concerns raised about noise and the nature of the business.

But chair of Portsmouth City Council's licensing committee, Councillor Claire Udy, said that there was no reason for refusal. 'We found that he was the proper person to run a sex establishment as he has done for many years,' she said.

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'We found that the establishment would cause no harm to other people and the locality.'

The renewal was sought after club owner Paul Ojla lost out on his attempt to move the club to Albert Road last year. Instead the Granada Road venue has undergone a refurbishment.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Ojla said: 'I am pleased. It really wasn't something they could have refused because it was a renewal, although it was always possible that they could have said no.

'Now the licence has been renewed we can get the refurbished club up and running. It will be ready to open in a few weeks.'

No objections were made at the committee meeting but Shonagh Dillon from charity Aurora New Dawn, which seeks to end violence against women, attended.

Shonagh was unable to make a deputation at the meeting because she only became aware of the application after the deadline but said: 'The normalisation of porn culture and the objectification of women as a sex class is apparent every day in our society.

'We (Aurora New Dawn) have requested a copy of the minutes of the meeting held by the licensing committee in regards to this renewal and are particularly interested in the due regard paid by the committee to the Equality Act 2010 and the public sector equality duty in relation to sex as a protected characteristic.

'It is our strongly held view that the operation of sexual entertainment venues (SEVs) does have an negative impact on women and girls as a sex class.

'Moreover we would ask the council to reconsider their stance on SEVs and their operation in the city. What is the point of the council claiming they have a nil cap when in effect they have never actually applied this exemption?'

Mr Ojla added: 'The lady who wanted to object was doing it for the same reason as previous objectors - on moral grounds. But nobody actually knows what a lapdancing club is like these days. It is very upmarket. Everyone who works there is over 18, it's all above board and there are cameras in every section.'

The licence will allow Elegance to operate from 10pm to 4am every night. It is planned the club will open four nights a week.