Performers in sex establishments will be able to reveal all if Calderdale Council approves recommendations made by its licensing committee.
Calderdale Council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee agreed that a condition be removed from the council’s new licensing policy stating performers: “must at all times wear a non-transparent g-string or similar piece of clothing on the appropriate part of the body and at no time reveal any part of their genitalia or anus” .
The request had been made during consultation over the new policy by La Salsa, a Halifax lap-dancing club, and the decision was made after debate and councillors taking legal advice, a process from which the press and members of the public were excluded.
But no touching will be allowed – performers must still remain a minimum of 300 millimetres from customers, they agreed.
La Salsa representatives had asked for that restriction to be removed on grounds it could get performers into trouble unwillingly during a dance if they touched someone’s hand or knee.
And a request made during the consultation from another respondent that “seductive images on the windows” should be allowed by amending a condition which states “there shall be no window display of licensed sex articles” was turned down and the restriction remains.
With La Salsa already open in Halifax, Calderdale is unlikely to experience a rush of more establishments as councillors agreed they should be limited in number to one.
Councillors also amended other sections of the draft policy including taking into account any development in the surrounding community when a licence came up for the annual renewal.
Most of the debate time was spent on the controversial issue of non-transparent clothing where councillors had to balance the previous policy and expressions of concern with issues relating to businesses being able to operate on a level playing field.
Some of the responses also collected during the consultation were against such establishments on principle but the report said some of these did not address the draft policy, other items being noted or being taken into account.
In their letter to the council, written last May, La Salsa said visiting customers expected the same service as other towns including Leeds and Manchester where dancers were allowed to remove their g-string.
New dancers had to be re-trained if they came to work at the club, at Silver Street, they wrote.
“Every week we have to re-train the dancers with our policies and need to keep going into the dance floor in front of customers to warn the dancers to keep their g-strings on.
“This creates a lot of tension in the club and and creates a bad service to customers,” said the letter.
If they did not get the service they required some customers demanded refunds which created tension, putting managers and dancers in danger – there were warning signs about the dance around the club but not everyone would read them.
Representatives re-made the case to councillors at the committee meeting.
The council wishes to establish a policy of Licensing of Sex Establishments – which covers sex shops, and sex cinemas as well as lap-dancing clubs, all now classified as sex extablishments – as part of its overall licensing framework.
The committee’s recommendations still need approval from the full Calderdale Council, which next meets in July.
Consultation on the policy included all councillors, West Yorkshire Police, all parish councils, notices in all Calderdale’s local newspapers, both Members of Parliament, objectors to previous licence applications, current licence holders, the Children’s and Adults Safeguarding Team, the Community Safety Team, notices at Halifax Town Hall and Halifax Customer First and on-street surveys in Halifax, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Sowerby Bridge, Brighouse and Elland town centres.
Caption guidance – Calderdale Council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee met at Halifax Town Hall
John Greenwood , Local Democracy Reporting Service