Lapdancing club battles on over Yorkshire council’s restrictions

Paul Gourlay owner of Wildcats  lapdancing club on the Headrow, Leeds.

Paul Gourlay owner of Wildcats lapdancing club on the Headrow, Leeds.

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A YORKSHIRE council has won the first round of its legal battle to restrict the number of lapdancing clubs in the city centre.

A judge has ruled that Leeds City Council was within its rights to withdraw the sexual entertainment venue licence for Wildcats under a new policy restricting the location and number of the clubs.

But Wildcats, one of three clubs affected, is to launch a fresh legal challenge arguing the process which led to the new policy was flawed.

Owner Paul Gourlay said the council’s policy had been “driven on moral grounds by a select few and this is firmly against the government’s legislation on this matter.”

He added: “It is our view that the vast majority of people couldn’t care what we do. We are a law abiding business, employing people and paying taxes,

“I continue to be at a loss to understand the council’s behaviour.”

The club’s new challenge will focus on the way the council drew up its policy on lapdancing clubs which banned them from “prominent areas” and limited the total number in the city to four.

Wildcats fell foul of the rules because of its location on the Headrow although the club has always protested there is nothing in its branding that reveals the nature of the business.

Leeds City Council has consistently defended the new restrictions on lapdancing clubs which were agreed last July and came into force in September. The rules were drawn up after the council consulted its “citizens panel” on the issue.

The panel’s verdict was the clubs should not be allowed in residential, deprived or rural areas, in prominent areas of the city or near places of “public importance, ceremony and recreation”.

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