TBC

THE owner of a lapdancing club in Southsea has vowed to make the venue permanent if his licence is renewed - but some residents are not happy about it.

Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 2:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 10:18 pm
Paul Ojla owns Elegance in Southsea. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (120861-4)

At a licensing meeting next week councillors will decide whether to allow Elegance in Granada Road to continue to stay open from 10pm to 4am every night.

Currently Elegance operates 'intermittently' after a failed bid last year to move the premises to Albert Road. But owner Paul Ojla said the plan is to open the club every night following a 'high standard' refurbishment of the site.

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So far five objections have been made to Portsmouth City Council about the licence renewal, with all wishing to remain anonymous.

One commented: 'This area is a residential area and it would be a significance disturbance to permit such trade late into the night and into the early morning. There are no parking facilities and no significant transport during the night.'

Another said: 'There are several halfway houses for drink and drug dependents in the area and the problems that can be triggered by residents in the houses is more or less contained.

'However, bringing a sex club into the locality is not going to improve the neighbourhood and is likely to exacerbate the problems because of the type of person attracted to attend a sex club.'

Mr Ojla defended the bid for a licence. He said: 'It's the same people that were objecting to our premises at Albert Road last year. They have never even been in there, they don't know what the club is like. It's just on moral grounds that people object.

'We don't make any noise. In the 16 years we have been there we have never had any complaints. And we've never had complaints from statutory bodies like the police, environmental authorities or the council.

'If we had been a nuisance and done something wrong then there would be reason to object. '

Councillors admitted licence renewals were not grounds to object. Council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: 'They already have a licence so unless they have done things that are really seriously wrong or break the law the council can't turn down that renewal of a licence.

'A new licence would be different.'

Tory leader Cllr Donna Jones added: 'I do understand people's misgivings about the nature of the business conducted within a lapdancing club.

'However, they are permitted legally by the UK government. People who work in them are protected by the strict rules about what customers can do. They are also over 18 and have a choice about working there. Although I have sympathy for people the club does already have a licence and this is simply a renewal.'

The licence will go to committee on June 10.