North Lanarkshire Council has upheld its policy on places of sexual entertainment – even though it has none.
The council launched a four-week consultation in January due to new legislation.
However, this provoked a backlash from a local women’s group who claimed the council was “supporting the area”.
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In a statement, NLC said: “Following public consultation, all sexual entertainment venues (SEVs) in North Lanarkshire must be licensed by council before they can operate.
“This means that any business applying for a license will have to comply with its terms, which will help ensure that it operates safely and appropriately within legal parameters.
“By allowing these places (although we currently have none), it will help to prevent public nuisance, crime and disorder, ensure public safety, protect children and young people from harm and reduce violence against women.
“Had the council decided not to license SEVs, they could have operated without direct regulation or oversight.”
The council claims that the new SEV licensing scheme was introduced following a court ruling which determined that councils (as licensing authorities) were not legally able to use the liquor license conditions to control the activities of those who operate these premises, beyond any concerns about the sale and consumption of alcohol.
This decision led the Scottish Government to introduce legislation to create a specific licensing regime for SEVs, with associated statutory guidance, which leaves local authorities the discretion to decide whether they choose to introduce it for their region.
In the event that a council decides not to introduce it, an operator could open such premises and be able to operate without any regulation from the local authority.
As a result, the board would then be unable to protect the public and those employed on the site from the operator’s unregulated activities.
However, during the consultation period, a spokeswoman for the North Lanarkshire Women’s Forum told us: “This consultation is a joke.
“These types of businesses are not welcome here, but the council have already announced their decision to allow sex clubs and strip clubs in North Lanarkshire – they are pimping into our area.
“They pose a significant threat to the safety of women and girls and are decidedly unsavory.
“The vast majority of women are unaware of the council’s decision and have not been informed of the consultation.
“We inform the council that we will campaign for this decision to be reversed.
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