Leeds lap dancing clubs apply for new licences

Will the Leeds lap dancing clubs have their licences renewed?
Will the Leeds lap dancing clubs have their licences renewed?

A charity which helps women who have suffered from sexual violence has called on Leeds City Council not to renew the licences for two lap dancing clubs in the city.

Members of Leeds City Council’s licensing sub-committee will meet later this month to consider renewing the licences of Liberte and Purple Door lap dancing clubs, both on York Place in the city centre.

Each licence expired on September 30, and the clubs request a licence for a further year of “sexual entertainment in the form of lap dancing”.

But charity Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds, along with political group the Womens Equality Party, have each submitted objections to the proposals.

The current licenses allow each club to operate from 10pm-4am on Sunday to Thursday and 10pm-5am on Friday and Saturday.

Liberte wishes to keep these hours, but the Purple Door has applied to extend its own opening times to 10pm-5am on Sunday to Thursday and 10pm-6am on Friday and Saturday.

Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds sent similar objections to each application, stating: “Leeds City Council has statutory obligations in relation to disability race and gender ensuring that these factors are not used to discriminate against anyone.

“We believe that a sexual entertainment venue directly discriminates against women by normalising the sexualisation and objectification of women, and that this contributes to their sexualisation and objectification in other areas of society.”

The Womens Equality Party – a political group promoting equal rights for women – also made submissions against each venue, claiming sexual entertainment venues foster “misogynistic behaviour”.

It added: “Given the nature of the dancer’s employment and their working condition, lap dancing should not be seen as a viable and fulfilling job opportunity.

“Whatever the apologists for this industry may say, lap dancers have no employment protection, with many working on what can be best described as ‘less-than zero hour?’ (sic) contracts.”