Consideration was given to a report, presented by the Licensing Manager, concerning:-
- the proposed adoption by the Council of Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 (as amended by Section 27 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009); and
- the proposed Rotherham MBC Sex Establishment Licensing Policy.
Members noted that other relevant provisions of the of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 had previously been adopted by the Council (reference : Minute No.1236(2) of the meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee held on 20th October, 1982).
The report stated that Section 27 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 had come into effect in April 2010 and had the effect of reclassifying lap dancing clubs and similar as ‘sexual entertainment venues’ and added these to the category of “sex establishment” within the 1982 Act (along with sex shops and sex cinemas). Members were informed that, currently, there was only one sex shop situated within the Rotherham Borough area and no sex cinemas. There was one club situated within the Rotherham town centre classified as a sexual entertainment venue.
A copy of the draft Sex Establishment Licensing Policy was appended to the submitted report.
In discussion of the submitted report and of the draft Sex Establishment Licensing Policy, Members of the Licensing Board referred to the following salient matters, which shall be considered further as part of the process of determining the final Policy:-
- Members debated the requirement for a full equality assessment of the Policy to be undertaken and decided, by a majority vote, that this assessment should be undertaken after the consultation period has ended and at the time when the final draft of the Policy is near to completion;
- the public consultation exercise is to be undertaken in respect of the Policy, involving (amongst others) the general public, statutory authorities, religious groups, community and voluntary groups, residents living near to premises, the employees within the industry and their representatives, as well as industry representatives;
- the arrangements for the regular and routine review of the Sex Establishment Licensing Policy, after implementation;
- concerns in respect of persons within the industry who have convictions for sex offences or offences involving indecency and who may be on the register of sex offenders;
- the defined area within which sex establishment venues shall be permitted to be situated shall be a defined area of the Rotherham town centre; a specific definition and map of this area shall be included within the Policy;
- no other parts of the whole Rotherham Borough area shall be included within the defined area, thereby restricting the location of sex establishment venues only to the Rotherham town centre;
- a maximum number of two licensed sex establishment venues shall be permitted within the defined area at any time;
- ensuring that the contents of the proposed Policy accord with the Council’s Development Plan and the Rotherham town centre masterplan in respect of the suitability of locations for premises/venues;
- multi-use premises and outdoor venues which may be used for various activities at different times and only on occasions as a sex establishment;
- the Policy must be kept up-to-date ensuring that it is complaint with relevant legislation and current guidance issued by Central Government;
- enforcement issues and the possibility of unregulated activities taking place at premises and venues which are unlicensed;
- the need for a rigorous examination of the persons who are responsible for licensed sex establishments, including a thorough assessment of their past conduct as holders of licences issued by local authorities and other appropriate statutory bodies;
- the industry practice of fining employees should be prohibited, both by a rigorous condition of a licence and by enforcement;
- the process conducted by the local authority in determining applications for licences for a sex establishment venue shall include notification of and consultation with residents living (including in residential homes) adjacent or near to the premises/venue which are the subject of the application;
- the need for careful control of the advertising of sex establishment venues, including the methods of distribution of advertising leaflets and the external appearance of premises/venues;
- applicants for licences must provide details in writing in respect of employee welfare policies, codes of conduct both for employees and for customers and also of pricing policies.
(1) Resolved:- (a) That the report and draft Policy be received and their contents noted.
(b) That the Licensing Board expresses the view that it is in favour of the Council implementing the proposed Rotherham MBC Sex Establishment Licensing Policy, as now submitted, provided that:-
(i) further consideration is given to the contents of the proposed Policy in the light of both comments now made by the Members of the Licensing Board and representations received by the Council during the forthcoming public consultation exercise;
(ii) the completion of a full equality assessment, the findings of which are to be included within the Policy eventually approved and implemented by the Council;
(iii) the Council shall make arrangements to undertake a review of the Sex Establishment Licensing Policy one year after its implementation and thereafter regular reviews at intervals of three years.
(2) Recommended:- That Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 (as amended by Section 27 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009) be formally adopted by the Council.