Hundreds of people are backing a campaign to stop the opening of Accrington’s first lap dancing club.
More than 600 people signed a petition opposing the plans during a town centre protest to stop the developers of I Candy lap dancing bar from obtaining an alcohol licence. Anthony Carr has already been granted a Sexual Entertainment Venue licence by Hyndburn Council for the venue which would open on Blackburn Road but has yet to apply for planning permission.
Rev Kevin Logan, who organised the protest on Broadway in Accrington on Saturday, said it had been a great success. He said: "It went very well and we managed to collect 600 signatures in just four hours, which is brilliant. Around 60 people also said they would send individual letters of objection to the council.
"We are delighted with the result and we think that hundreds more people will have signed the petition in local churches on Sunday.
"We really were encouraged by the tremendous support from all ages.
"Even young people said lap dancing was something they didn’t want here and think it is giving out the wrong signals altogether."
Mr Carr said the club would create 22 jobs and boost Accrington’s night-time economy. He applied for an alcohol license in October and residents and traders have until Monday, November 21 to make their views known.
Rev Logan, former reverend at Christ Church, Accrington, will continue to circulate the protest petition and he has already raised £200 towards hiring a barrister to take his case to council licensing officers.
I Candy would be situated at the former UPSI Bar premises above Quattro’s Italian Brasserie. It is not connected to the restaurant.
It will be open from midday until 1am, Sunday to Thursday, and until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Mr Carr told the Observer: "Everybody is entitled to their own opinion.
"The premises will adhere to the controlled rules and regulations that we have to meet.
"I don’t want to fall out with anybody over this."
A 28-day period when people can make objections will come to a close on Monday, November 21.
If no valid objections are received the application will be granted by officers.
If valid applications are received a committee of three councillors will then decide if the application is granted, refused or modified.
The application must be heard by December 21.
Mr Logan will be collecting signatures of objection in Accrington town centre this weekend Saturday, November 12 and Sunday, November 13.
He was also due to take his protest to Thursday night’s Hyndburn full council meeting.
He requested an opportunity to ask council leaders the following question:¿"The new law governing Sexual Entertainment Licenses allows a local authority to reject a licence application if they believe that to grant a licence for a lap dancing club would be inappropriate given the character of a particular area.
"Hyndburn Council allowed licence applications to go ahead as of their decision on September 22, and to be even rubber-stamped without debate in certain circumstances.
"Why did councillors consider Accrington to be an appropriate area for a sexual entertainment club and why did they think it would fit the character of our town?" he added.