Plans to open a pole-dancing club in Eastbourne have been given the go-ahead this week.
Members of Eastbourne Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee granted a Sexual Entertainment Venue (SEV) licence for a premises above the Embassy nightclub in Pevensey Road last night (Monday July 9).
As a result, the venue – expected to be named Salon Privé – is licensed for the performance of exotic dancing by either men or women, between 10pm and 4am Monday to Saturday, and until 3am on Sundays and bank holidays.
Before granting the licence, committee members heard objections from Adrian Ley of the Town Centre Neighbourhood Panel and arguments in favour from the applicant F Forte Developments Limited.
In his representation, Mr Ley argued the venue would be ‘inappropriate’ in Pevensey Road. He said: “This is not a discreet location in a back road, it is a highly visible location within the town centre. I would draw your attention to the fact that Terminus Road is the main retail area.
“It is very close to our main tourist area and tourist accommodation. The closest tourist accommodation is a block away, but from that point onwards there are a large number of tourist accommodations in the area.”
Mr Ley said the panel was also concerned that nearby residents would see an increase in anti-social behaviour in what is ‘one of the most deprived residential areas of East Sussex’.
He said: “It is our view that the presence of such a venue will have a detrimental impact on the attempts to improve and regenerate the location.
“The panel has a very strong concern about the impact of the premises in terms of the vulnerable residents living nearby. Those people who will be affected by the patrons leaving and going to the premises.
“We regard the type of entertainment going on there to create a significantly higher risk of noise and disturbance than we currently experience with other late night venues.”
A further written objection was not considered by the committee as it was submitted after the consultation period had ended. However committee members did consider part of the objection as it was considered ‘substantially similar’ to the concerns raised by Mr Ley.
Committee members also heard from barrister James Rankin, who spoke on behalf of F Forte Developments Limited.
Mr Rankin said: “Let me start with the elephant in the room. It was raised by Mr Ley and it was raised by the late objection, it is that many people find these sorts of applications offensive.
“[But] Parliament has laid down strict guidelines and strict grounds for refusal and ‘that you find it offensive’ is not one of them.
“It is a very difficult thing because the premises already has a licence and the Embassy already operates until 4am, six nights a week.
“The issue at stake is what will be the impact of a man or a woman taking their top off. That is all it is.
“For the Town Centre Neighbourhood Panel to suggest the sky will fall – that somehow it is going to impact the vulnerable residents that live there – is, with the greatest respect, perhaps overstating their position.”
During his representations, Mr Rankin told committee members the signage outside of the club would be discreet, with the only the name of the club to be displayed. It would also be operationally distinct from the Embassy nightclub, with a separate entrance and two dedicated door staff at all times.
Mr Rankin also spoke about the strict code-of-conduct for performers and customers, which had been agreed with the Sussex Police licensing team.
Under this code-of-conduct the performers are prohibited from dancing fully-nude and must remain a minimum of three metres away from customers during dances.
After hearing from both representatives, the sub-committee granted the licence. Chairman Troy Tester said: “We have resolved to grant the licence subject to the agreed conditions.
“The reasons for this decision are that the sub-committee was satisfied that granting the application would not be inappropriate in regard to the relevant locality and the strict conditions imposed on the licence.”
Unlike bars or restaurant licences, an SEV licence must be renewed every 12 months for the venue to continue operating. As a result the council will reconsider the terms of the licence again next year.
Speaking after the meeting, Gino Forte, director of F Forte Developments Limited and the Embassy Leisure Corporation Limited, said: “I’m incredibly grateful to Eastbourne Borough Council, police and all the authorities involved and I would really like to take this opportunity to say thank you to them.”
He added that the club would be opening in the ‘near future’.