Objectors fail to halt Rhino in its tracks

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STRIP club bosses last night said they were “thrilled” that councillors had given them permission to continue trading despite a campaign which aimed to see their venue closed down.

Sheffield Council’s licensing committee announced its decision over Spearmint Rhino yesterday after it was forced to apply for a “sexual entertainment venue licence” under a new policy.

The application had been opposed by neighbouring businesses in Sheffield’s so-called cultural industries quarter, who claimed that the “gentlemen’s club” was in an inappropriate location.

If the licence had been refused the club in Brown Street would have had to close, but Steve Lonnia, Sheffield Council’s head of licensing, said permission had been granted.

He added: “The committee looked carefully at all the evidence and took everything into consideration. Unfortunately there were no grounds to refuse.”

John Specht, Spearmint Rhino’s UK vice president, said: “We are thrilled that Sheffield Council has seen fit to grant us the licence today despite objections from some local businesses.

“We understand that some people do not agree with the industry or the service we provide but it must also be said that there are a lot of misconceptions which were clearly shown by the objectors who demonstrated their lack of knowledge or tolerance of our business.

“We would like to thank the council for their balanced and pro active approach to this matter.”

Laura Sillars, who runs the Site Gallery opposite the club, spoke at Tuesday’s licensing committee to object to the sexual entertainment venue licence.

She said last night: “We are shocked that the council has seen fit to grant this licence.

“The location of a sex club in the centre of what is the city’s cultural quarter is damaging to its reputation and we are disappointed that the licensing committee did not see that.”