Halifax lap-dance club told to remove etchings of women

A lap-dancing club has been granted its licence for another year – but on condition silhouettes of naked women etched into its windows must be covered up.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 30th May 2022, 12:00 pm

The application to renew the sexual entertainment venue licence for La Salsa, Halifax, was approved by Calderdale licensing councillors, with that proviso.

Although the police and ward councillors had not raised any issues about the application, it was opposed, including by representatives from Calderdale WomenCentre, which is across Silver Street from the club.

Ten letters or emails opposed the application, which has to be reviewed each year.

La Salsa, Halifax

Opponents of the club set out their case and also expressed concern that windows containing silhouettes of naked women in the design, which they claimed the club had been told to remove or cover before, had not been altered.

Images on second floor windows were still there and had concerned those staying at the refuge, councillors heard.

One objector said it should not be up to local campaigners to force local authorities to make a decision and they should consider adopting zero tolerance conditions for existing sexual entertainment venues.

For many years they felt they had been making the case against the establishment they believed the council should be making itself, said objector Chris Green.

Objectors argued the licence should be refused as the club was inappropriately situated opposite the centre and also close to the Gathering Place, which helped vulnerable men and women and was also used as a church.

They said Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin had said the safety of women and girls was at the heart of her brief and objectors told Calderdale Council’s Licensing Sub-committee, which was making the decision, they believed allowing premises trading on the sexuality of women was demeaning to men and women and, at a time of rising domestic violence, was potentially dangerous.

They also argued that the nature of Halifax town centre was changing, to attract families.

One said: “We have been told many times we should never talk about morals but gaining a reputation for a place that families can visit, the Piece Hall and Shibden Hall, means there is no place for an establishment like this in Halifax.”

But the club’s owner Reza Shasavar said the club had been operating there since 2002 and it had been run without issues.

“Altogether we are running the place very professionally,” he said.

He explained circumstances behind an incident in August 2020 after being asked about it by Coun Robert Thornber (Con, Ryburn).

Council officer John Beacroft-Mitchell said the only reference was made to an assault on the premises but this was not relating to the sexual entertainment licence that was held and police had not raised it as an issue.

Sub-committee Chair Coun Stephanie Clarke (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) read out the panel’s resolution that the application would be granted – but all windows at La Salsa must be opaque, removing or covering the images.