A LAPDANCING club could open in the centre of Ampthill after plans for a sexual entertainment venue were submitted to Central Beds Council.
Businessman John Shayler has owned the building in Church Street for the last 20 years, and has previously run a coffee shop, restaurant and antiques shop there, but the building has been empty for around four years.
He has now applied for a sex establishment licence that would see the premises re-open as a lapdancing club.
But the proposal has already been met with strong opposition from residents, with some accusing Mr Shayler of only doing it because he “hates” Ampthill.
One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “Lapdancing in a quaint Georgian market town? I don’t think so.
“A lot of people in Ampthill think this is a wind-up because Mr Shayler has been very vocal about how he hates Ampthill in the past.”
Another resident called it a “non-starter”, as it is in a residential area and said that it would attract people from out of town and increase low-levels of crime and anti-social behaviour.
Mr Shayler, who owns two other lapdancing clubs, refuted claims that he hates Ampthill and insists that the club will succeed in the town.
He said: “I love Ampthill. It’s true I may dislike some of the people in it, but you cannot get on with everybody.
“Ampthill is a quiet town, but not at night. At night it’s really lively. I know it is going to succeed. Ampthill is dead, businesses are not surviving.
“I have a commercial business and I want to do something with it that I know will work.”
The club owner says although he has applied for a licence to open during the week, he will only open from Thursday to Saturday from 7pm-1.30am.
Mr Shayler has invited members of the public who are against the club to visit either of his other two clubs.
And he says he will give the building rent-free to anyone else who can come up with a viable business plan and can financially run the business themselves.
He added: “I want people to stand in my shoes, people don’t know what it takes to run a business. If people want to club together and can financially run another successful business from my premises I will drop the application tomorrow.
“I think of myself as Walt Disney. I offer people a Disneyland experience, and they can stay on the rollercoaster for as long as they want.”
People are invited to comment on the application by July 14 in writing to Central Beds Council.
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