2005-10-09

Intolerance: Glasgow May Get 4th Lap Dancing Club Shock

Glasgow could become the 'Soho of the north' with the spread of lap-dancing clubs in the city, it was feared today, 2005-10-09. Opponents of the clubs, who say they exploit and demean women, today hit out at plans to open a fourth venue in the city. The new lap-dancing club is planned at 'Seventh Heaven' at Charing Cross, the failed Glasgow nightclub previously owned by ex-Celtic defender Mr.Stephane Mahe. New owner 'Kell Scotland' has lodged an application with the city's licensing board. It wants to turn it into an upmarket club aimed at middle-aged businessmen, with entertainment based on the 'sexed-up' shows of New York's Club 'Cake'. It would be the fourth lap-dancing club in the city after 'The Truffle Club' in Drury Lane, 'Legs & Co' on Maxwell St and 'Diamond Dolls' on Mitchell St. But Mr.Eddie Tobin, chairman of the Glasgow Nightclub 'Forum', warned the city could become 'awash with these places'. He added:
'They could turn Glasgow into the Soho of the north.'
And 'The Scottish National Party's' Glasgow MSP Ms.Sandra White said she was 'horrified' at the plans for a fourth club. She added:
'It's a slap in the face for all the citizens of Glasgow. 'I had hoped all the publicity about Glasgow's views on these clubs would have put people off. 'Charing Cross is a residential area and we are already trying to get rid of saunas in the area.
'So this club is the last thing it needs.'
Mr.Tobin said Glasgow licensing chiefs should be wary of allowing too many lap-dancing clubs to open. He said:
'I wouldn't want to see a flood of lap-dancing clubs opening in the city. 'I've no objection to a lap-dancing club, but a city full of them would not send a good message about Glasgow. 'If there are going to be four how do we know that won't become 30?'
Earlier this year the city told US American lap-dancing chain 'Spearmint Rhino' to stay out of Glasgow after it revealed plans for two clubs in the city. But the 'Seventh Heaven' bid is likely to further embarrass the city council over its policy of opposing all such applications on the grounds that lap-dancing clubs demean and exploit women. That policy proved a failure in 2005-10 after the licensing board ruled an objection by the council against renewing an entertainment licence at 'The Truffle Club' was 'not competent'. As the city has no practical means to block the plan it's likely to be approved next month, and the club is expected to open 2006-03. Plans for a lap-dancing club can only be rejected if the board believes the applicant is not a fit and proper person, or if objections are raised about the site and suitability of the premises. But a city spokesman today insisted it would try to block 'Seventh Heaven's' plans. He said:
'We will continue to oppose these clubs and object to every application.'
A spokesman for the licensing board said:
'The application by "Kell Scotland Ltd" should go before the board in January [2006-01].'
The city has asked 'The Executive' to amend 'The Civic Government Scotland Act' to make it harder to open lap-dancing clubs. It wants to make applicants apply for a specific licence rather than just one for entertainment and liquor. An independent task force is considering the request. If successful, it would allow councils to stipulate how many of the clubs, if any, could open in their area. It would also see more people being allowed to lodge objections to such plans. Only local residents, churches and businesses can currently raise objections. 'Seventh Heaven' went bust with debts of 500_000_GBP in 2004-11, four months after opening. Mr.Mahe and business partner Mr.Franck Hubert were forced to shut the club, which had fewer than 50 customers on some weekend nights. No-one at 'Kell Scotland', based in Pollokshields, was available for comment. 'Glasgow in danger of becoming Soho of the north', Martin Murray, Evening Times, 2005-10-09

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