Will performers get to 'reveal all' in Calderdale's sex establishments?

La Salsa in Halifax
La Salsa in Halifax

Whether or not performers in Calderdale sex establishments can reveal all is one of the decisions councillors are being asked to make next week.

Calderdale Council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee, which meets at Halifax Town Hall on Monday, June 4 (6pm) will also consider issues relating to the distance between performer and customer and whether or not “seductive images” on the windows of such establishments can be used.

These are requests to change current conditions and are part of a policy dealing with sex establishments which has been drawn up as part of the council’s overall licensing framework.

The request to remove the condition relating to how much performers can reveal of themselves has come from current licence holder lap dancing club La Salsa, which is on Silver Street, Halifax, who made the request in writing to the council in May 2017.

Current standard conditions state that “the performers at all times shall wear a non-transparent g-string or similar piece of clothing on the appropriate part of the body, and at no time will it reveal any part of their genitalia or anus.”

They also state: “A minimum distance of 300 millimetres must be maintained between performers and customers” and La Salsa has expressed a concern that performers “could unwittingly get into trouble if during a dance they may touch someone’s hand or knee,” says a report to the committee.

And with regard to the third matter, made by a respondent to consultation, at present conditions state: “There shall be no window display of licensed sex articles.”

Councillors will also be asked if they want to limit the number of sex establishments that will be licensed to operate within Calderdale, and in which localities.

The briefing paper for councillors explains that currently the Licensing Authority – the council – has not adopted a policy in place for sex establishments, which are described as being sexual entertainment venues, sex shops and sex cinemas.

“A clear policy is advised by the Home Office to ensure that any decision making on this type of licensing is clear and transparent and is in line with Home Office guidance,” it says.

The policy gives guidance on a range of matters from the application process to reasons as to why licenses can be refused.

Consultees have included West Yorkshire Police, the borough’s Adults and Childrens Safeguarding team, the Community Safety partnership, all ward councillors, both Members of Parliament, representatives of current licence holders, objectors to previous applications, placement of public notices inviting comment and an on-street survey conducted in Halifax, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Sowerby Bridge, Brighouse and Elland town centres.

Councillors are being asked to resolve to recommend for approval the draft policy with a limit to the number of sex establishments within the borough or specific localities, or with no limit.

They are also being asked to resolve to recommend approval of the draft policy without changes to existing conditions or with approval for all or some of the changes consultees have requested, or any other changes councillors agree.

The policy will then have to be approved by a full meeting of Calderdale Council.