Campaigners launch fresh battle against Portsmouth lapdancing club move

Paul Ojla who owns the Elegance club in Southsea
Paul Ojla who owns the Elegance club in Southsea
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CAMPAIGNERS are gearing up to battle a fresh bid to move a lapdancing club.

Strip club Elegance owner Paul Ojla is hoping to move his Granada Road business to the former Conservative club in Albert Road, Southsea.

Last year city council planners refused him permission but he won an appeal ruled on by a planning inspector.

Now businessman Mr Ojla has submitted a premises licence to the council.

Shop owners, campaigners and politicians have spoken out against the plan, which could be decided in March.

Central Southsea ward and Lib Dem councillor Suzy Horton is holding an open meeting against the club.

Cllr Horton said: ‘I just don’t think it’s appropriate for that area.

‘Obviously the planning is different from licensing, but the same principles apply.

‘It’s next to the Wedgewood Rooms, where lots of people, some of them young, are queuing next to it.

‘It’s on what essentially is a residential area.’

Domestic abuse charity Aurora New Dawn’s chief executive, Shonagh Dillon, is against the move. She said: ‘The licensing of an sexual entertainment venues is not one of morality. It is an issue of objectification of women.’

She said buying and selling of women for gratification was against gender equality rules and contradicted a UN convention on discrimination. She added: ‘At Aurora we are concerned about the links between objectification and the global issues of violence against women.’

Mr Ojla, who employs around 20 dancers and runs Wiggle in Surrey Street, told The News he would move Elegance if he wins a licence.

He hopes to get a licence for 9pm-4am each day.

He said: ‘The application is for us to move from Granada Road to Albert Road. We feel it’s a more commercial area.

‘It’s in a commercial location more suitable than the one in Granada Road, which is in a more residential area.

‘None of the woman are forced into doing the job. ‘

Security is in place for workers and the club would not be detrimental, he added.

n The Lib Dem meeting is at 6pm on February 1 at Wedgewood Rooms, in Albert Road.

n Labour’s meeting on Thursday at the Havelock Community Centre, in Fawcett Road, from 7.30pm-9pm.