Leeds '˜swingers club' plan has got a lot of people hot and bothered

Proposals for a '˜swingers' club in west Leeds have attracted a flurry of objections ahead of a decision-making planning meeting later this week.

Ledgard Way, Armley, Leeds...The site of a proposed Swingers club...22nd August 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme
Ledgard Way, Armley, Leeds...The site of a proposed Swingers club...22nd August 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

A Leeds City Council committee will decide on the application for the change of use of an existing retail and warehouse unit in Ledgard Way, Armley, to a private adult members club.

A report going to the panel this Thursday says the applicant aims “to provide a discreet, clean, safe and controlled environment for like-minded adults to meet and potentially engage in legal sexual activities within the private rooms provided”.

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The report adds; “The applicants state the most accurate general description would be a ‘swingers club’.”

However local Armley ward councillor Alison Lowe said residents were “up in arms” over the application, claiming that the establishment was as little as 25 steps from the nearest residential home.

In a letter to the panel, she said: “Without even commenting on the nature of the proposed business, which is abhorrent, this application will lead to hundreds of cars visiting this site day and night causing noise, nuisance and pollution for my constituents.

“Residents are up in arms about this application and are seriously worried about the impact on their community of having people arriving to engage in sexual activity in what can only be called a legal brothel.

“This venue is part of the gateway into Armley and such an establishment would reduce the impact of the £1million investment in Mike ‘s Carpets that took 20 years to realise.

“The venue is also only a few hundred yards away from Armley Mills Museum which thousands of families visit. Armley’s heritage is at risk if this application is agreed.”

The club would charge entry fees but payment directly or indirectly between adult members for sexual services is strictly prohibited.

It would offer a reception area, and bar serving only non-alcoholic drinks and 12 private rooms.

The building is in an industrial park and was most recently used as a shoe and clothing store.

There have been 11 letters of objection, including from a local church.

The dossier of paperwork going to the decision making panel at Leeds Civic Hall says locals fear allowing the club to operate would “encourage criminal activity, including prostitution, payment for sexual services, public nudity, drug use/dealing and drunken/disorderly behaviour”.

It adds the building is “not located in an industrial/commercial zone but close to residential dwellings in the ‘Aviaries’ neighbourhood, close to the main access and egress point to this area and in close proximity to Armley Town Centre”,

Locals also argue that there are already “several other sex-related establishments in close proximity” including a sauna aimed at gay men and an adult store close to Armley Prison.

The report to the plans panel says: “The area is being targeted by such establishments with the potential to undermine regeneration efforts including the refurbishment of the ‘Mike’s Carpets’ building.”

Other comments from objectors, quoted in the pre-meeting report, include that “the nature of the use is immoral, encouraging the undermining of traditional family values and raising the prospect of money changing hands and abuse of participants”.