Objections lodged as Leeds lap dance club seeks to expand

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Plans to double the size of a Leeds lap dancing club are facing objections – months after a campaign to cap the number of city centre strip venues failed.

Illuminati Ventures has applied to Leeds City Council for permission to expand the current Black Diamond club on New Briggate from two floors to four.

If approved, the new club would be renamed Tantric Blue.

But Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, who led a campaign last year to limit the number of sexual entertainment venues (SEVs) in Leeds, has written to the council to object.

She said: “The last thing Leeds needs is a new lap dancing club.

“We already have lap dancing clubs in prominent locations in the city centre and that is why I have written to the council to object to this application and encouraged other people to do the same thing.”

All seven existing city centre lap dancing clubs, including Black Diamond, had to apply for new SEV licences following a change in legislation last year.

At the time a group of MPs, councillors and religious leaders failed in their bid to persuade the council to impose a cap – or ban them outright.

The new Illuminati application has attracted objections from Leeds residents.

One, Nick Morgan, said: “It is inappropriate that two of the existing lap dancing clubs are directly opposite the town hall and the war memorial.

“The new application will see a third located near to an important cultural and historic buildings in the centre of Leeds.”

A separate application for a premises licence for the club, to be discussed by licensing chiefs on Monday, has prompted concerns from police about potential crime and disorder.

The moves comes after protesters staged a city-centre demonstration in Sheffield earlier in the week over plans for a lap dancing club.

Those against the application for a venue on West Street 
were successful in getting the scheme thrown out by planners, citing moral objections to the proposals.

Steelhouse, which is next to the City Hall tram stop, currently has permission to operate as a bar, but plans had been submitted to Sheffield Council requesting permission for a change of use for adult entertainment.

The move attracted much dissent and a large group gathered on the steps of Sheffield Town Hall waving placards and chanting to voice their opposition to the scheme ahead of the meeting.

Speaking ahead of the decision, Ros Wollen, who led the protest outside the Town Hall, said she believed that all such establishments in the city centre, including an existing branch of Spearmint Rhino, should be closed.

She said: “We feel that venues like this objectify women and we don’t want a city centre where that happens and all the behaviour that goes with that is seen as acceptable.

The committee rejected the plans after being told by planners that the scheme would be “out of keeping and cause harm” to its “heart of the city” 
location on West Street.

Officers added: “It is considered that the proposal would not contribute to building a positive and attractive image.

“It is concluded that the proposed lap dancing venue would have a materially detrimental effect on schemes for continuing regeneration in the area and stimulating the vitality and viability of the city centre.”

Officers also said the hours of operation were too late and could disturb nearby residents.

Nobody from the architects’ firm behind the plans could be contacted for comment.

The Yorkshire Post was unable 
to contact Illuminati for a comment.