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Licence for lap dancing bar – but fight goes on

A lap dancing bar has won its latest battle to open in Accrington town centre. Hyndburn council granted a premises licence for the I Candy lap dancing bar, on Blackburn Road, despite campaigners handing in a 1,500-signature petition against it.

PROTEST... Campaigners Mick and Gail Whittaker publicise the petition against a lap dancing bar in Accrington

A lap dancing bar has won its latest battle to open in Accrington town centre.

Hyndburn council granted a premises licence for the I Candy lap dancing bar, on Blackburn Road, despite campaigners handing in a 1,500-signature petition against it.

Now bar bosses only need to gain planning permission to open the bar after being granted a sexual entertainment venue (SEV) licence earlier this year.

Rev Kevin Logan, who is leading the protest against the bar’s plans, insisted that they have ‘not been defeated’ and said they are considering taking the council to court over the granting of the SEV licence.

He said: "We feel such has been the abhorrence to this in the town that we really have no alternative but to carry on with the fight.

"We are very grateful to all the people who have supported us through this."

Malcolm Ireland, a legal representative of Anthony Carr, one of the developers behind the application, said granting the licence was the right legal decision, but he declined to comment further.

A decision to grant a premises licence was made by councillors at a licensing sub-committee meeting this week.

During the debate the protest group argued that the lap dancing bar would cause increased crime and disorder and they also raised concerns over child-protection issues.

Committee chairman Coun Gareth Molineux said some of the campaigners’ objections were valid.

"The committee has decided to grant the premises licence to Mr Carr with conditions that will follow at a later date, he said.

"Those conditions will be put forward after discussions with both the application and the objectors."

Campaigners will now write to Hyndburn council asking it to review the decision to grant the SEV licence.

Rev Logan said: "This is not a defeat. We have won a lot of conditions that have to be added on that we think will make I Candy far less profitable and far less worth running.

"We think the decision was inappropriate and can be challenged by law. Other councils in the country have said they will set the number of SEV licences at nil and we are asking the council to do the same.

"This will mean when the SEV licence comes up for review in October next year it won’t be allowed. They still have to gain planning permission and there are objections that we can launch there."

A number of new conditions were presented by the applicant at the meeting – including changing the opening times from midday to 7pm and introducing a challenge 25 scheme to require proof that entrants are over the age of 18.

Mr Ireland also told the meeting that the applicant has received no objections from police or environmental health.

And applicant Mr Carr also defended the plans saying that he has received a great deal of support from the council and residents.

 

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