The man leading a campaign to cha nge Borough Council planning rules on sex clubs claims that nearly 3,000 residents have supported the move so far.
Bedford Borough Council’s public consultation on its policy for licensing sex entertainment venues closes on Tuesday.
And former councillor and campaigner Peter Chiswell, who has fought recent applications for venue licenses in Silver Street, Lurke Street and St Peters Street, is urging people to have their voices heard by taking part in the consulation.
He said: “To adopt a policy of zero sex entertainment venues would show that the council is willing to listen to a wide number of people in the area.
“3,000 is the largest number of letters I have ever seen handed in on this subject.”
He added: “These women are not happy, they are not empowered and they are explouted.
“The girls are not employed by the clubs so they actually pay to dance, they can get fined for things like looking tired or if they do not wear the right shoes and they can end up owing money to the club at the end of the night.”
And Mr Chiswell claimed that having a venue in Bedford which was licensed for lapdancing, pole-dancing or any other pursuit allowed for holders of a sex entertainment venue licence would be bad for Bedford.
He said: “I am concerned about the negative effects that such clubs can have on the area, particularly as far as vulnerable people are concerned, the economic regeneration that is ongoing and the treatment of people who are engaged in the industry.”
A spokesman for Bedford Borough Council said: ““Bedford Borough Council is the licensing authority in the Borough for sexual entertainment venues. In November 2012, the general licensing committee approved a stand alone consultation on the draft sexual entertainment venue policy.
“The draft policy sets out the characteristics of a local area which could make it unsuitable for a sexual entertainment venue. It is important that we hear the views of local people on the characteristics.
“Following the outcome of the consultation, a revised policy could be adopted in the next couple of months.”
To get involved visit www.bedford.gov.uk/sevpolicy
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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