SCORES of residents will oppose plans to open a new lapdancing club in the heart of Southsea.
Members of the community shared their concerns at a packed public meeting at the Wedgewood Rooms in Albert Road last night.
It followed a bid from businessman Paul Ojla to convert the former Conservative Club – only feet away – into a sexual entertainment venue.
Mr Ojla, who did not attend, owns existing clubs Wiggle, in Surrey Street, and Elegance, in Granada Road.
But residents and business owners who live and work close to the proposed site of his latest venture say they will unite to stop it.
Andrew Pearce jointly runs Creatiques Bridal Boutique, just doors down from the proposed venue.
He said: ‘I am opposing this new club but my reasoning is civil.
‘Just today [Thursday] we had a bride come in and she said if she had not met us, she would definitely think twice about buying a dress from a shop next to a sex club.
‘Already, that’s an indication these plans could affect our business negatively – as well as those they visit nearby when they journey to see us.’
Dagmar Waldron, 52, of nearby Boulton Road, said: ‘As a woman and someone who goes out with friends locally, I worry that walking past the venue late at night would threaten how safe I feel.
‘I only moved here three months ago, but that was under the impression the area is lively but safe. This undermines that.’
The two-hour meeting was held by Portsmouth’s Liberal Democrats in a bid to explain how concerned residents could both support or oppose the club application.
Leading proceedings was Steve Pitt, who also sits on Portsmouth City Council’s licensing committee.
He said: ‘There has been a lot of concern on this subject, as well as confusion.
‘But what we did tonight was make sure people are informed and empowered to object or support the application depending on how they personally feel.’
To have a say on plans for the lapdancing club, residents should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cllr Pitt stressed all representations must closely refer to the specific licensing outlines for the development – which can be viewed at portsmouth.gov.uk.