Sex shows to be banned as town bids to clean up act

LAP-dancing shows look set to be banned in Whitley Bay.

North Tyneside Council has agreed new regulations designating bars staging lap-dancing shows as sexual entertainment venues, clearing the way for a blanket ban next year.

The move gives the authority more control over the number of sex show venues and their locations.

A full council meeting last Thursday was asked to agree to a proposal limiting the number of sex show venues in the town to eight, but decided to go further and adopt a zero-tolerance policy instead in a bid to clean up the resort’s image.

Bars and clubs hosting lap-dancing shows or similar events will be able to carry on for the remainder of their licence term or until the new powers come in at the end of February next year.

If they want to continue after then, they will have to apply to the council for a new licence, explaining why they think they should be the exception to the rule.

The rule applies to an area bounded by Whitley Road, Park Avenue, the Promenade and the Esplanade.

Last year, the council held a 12-week consultation, receiving 34 responses, most of them calling for fewer lap-dancing venues in the town.

The police are also backing the move to make Whitley Bay a more family-friendly destination after years of having its image tarnished by stag night revelry and sleazy sex shows.

One of the first venues to fall foul of the ongoing moves to clean up the town was South Parade’s Caprice Hotel.

It was shown the licensing equivalent of a yellow card and put on probation for six months after dancers there were caught offering to perform explicit sex acts for undercover police officers.

A council spokesperson said: “The council will formally adopt these new powers from Sunday, February 27.

“Venues which currently provide sexual entertainment under the terms of their existing licence can continue to do so for 12 months following that date.” Chief Superintendent Gary Calvert, of North Tyneside police’s area command, said: “Northumbria Police support North Tyneside Council in wishing to make Whitley Bay a family-friendly and cultural centre for the members of the community to both enjoy and be safe.

“Following a consultation period, it was the view of North Tyneside police officers that no sexual entertainment venues should operate within Whitley Bay.

“This is based on a likelihood for added crime and disorder linked to these and other premises.”

Karen Goldfinch, chairman of Whitley Bay Chamber of Trade, said that although the move would impact on some businesses in the town, she welcomed it.

She said: “This will hopefully further improve the image of the town as being somewhere you can come, enjoy the many individual and bespoke shops, the vast array of different cafés and restaurants, bars and the coastal area in general.

“The nightlife in Whitley Bay has changed over the years, and work is being done to again improve the profile of, in particular, South Parade.

“There are successful bars and venues working hard to help with this, such as the Avalon Hotel and Trojan Rooms.

“This kind of attitude towards business and the greater good of the whole town can only be a good thing, bringing more people in to see what’s on offer, often staying locally in our hotels.

“A joint approach between the chamber, police, pubwatch scheme members and council, working with residents’ groups, must be a positive thing in making Whitley Bay the successful town we all want it to be.”