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Agenda item

Adoption of a Sex Establishment Licensing Policy

Report of the Strategic Director of Regeneration and Environment

 

Recommendations:-

 

1.    That the Cabinet notes and has due regard to the attached reports including the Equality Analysis and the consultation document appended to this report.

 

2.    That the proposed Sex Establishment Licensing Policy be adopted (see Appendix 2), including: proposed limits on the numbers of Sex Establishments in localities of the Borough and the types of areas where Sex Establishments would/would not be deemed appropriate; to be effective from 1st July 2019. 

 

3.    That the charging arrangements for the licensing of Sex Establishments, to be effective from 1st July 2019, be approved.

 

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report which confirmed, following public consultation, the passing of a resolution by Council on 22nd May, 2019 to adopt powers to regulate sex establishments across Rotherham from 1st July 2019. The adoption by Council of Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, now allowed the Council to set a clear Policy.

 

The proposed Policy would cover all sexual entertainment venues, sex cinemas and sex shops. If adopted, the Policy would allow the Local Authority to better regulate Sex Establishments, taking account of the views of residents, including the appropriate number and localities for such establishments and the establishment of welfare conditions for those working within such establishments.

 

Based on the feedback from public consultation this report proposed the adoption of a Sex Establishments Policy, to be effective from 1st July, 2019.

 

Whilst the Council would still be required to consider applications when they arose, the Policy proposed that the appropriate number of Sex Entertainment Venues and Sex Cinemas in each Ward of the Borough was nil.

 

The feedback received was reflected upon and there was clear evidence from residents that sex establishments should be regulated and there was no suitable location for lap-dancing clubs anywhere in Rotherham, although applications for such could still be made.

 

Residents did not feel that establishments such as this were in-keeping with what was trying to be done in Rotherham and gender inequality was an issue, which was picked up as part of the Equality Impact Assessment.

 

Examples of living conditions near sex establishments, details of humiliating and lewd comments and inequalities and exploitation within the venues were provided.  Tighter regulations around workers' rights were included to give more protection.

 

There was some assumption that the rules that applied to sexual entertainment venues were not applied to sex shops.  Rotherham currently had one sex shop.

 

The main focus for the feedback had been around sexual entertainment venues, but different feedback had been made from residents around sex shops where they found them to be more appropriate in an industrial location away from areas with children and young people.

 

As a result new guidance would be issued and reflected in the role of the Licensing Committee.

 

Whilst it was proposed the new Policy be implemented from the 1st July, 2019, there would be a transition period for existing establishments of twelve months to come in line with the new Policy, when they would need to reapply.

 

This report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board as part of the pre-scrutiny process who were fully in support of the recommendations and welcomed the detail set out in the Equality Impact Assessment.

 

The Cabinet Member thanked all those involved in the formulation of this Policy and the engagement throughout the consultation process, especially the women who came forward and shared their experiences.  In particular Councillor Clark was praised for being actively involved in some of the face to face consultation and in her support in hearing firs- hand about some of the issues.

 

Resolved:-  (1)  That the attached reports including the Equality Analysis and the consultation document appended to this report be duly regarded and noted.

 

(2)  That the proposed Sex Establishment Licensing Policy be adopted (see Appendix 2), including: proposed limits on the numbers of Sex Establishments in localities of the Borough and the types of areas where Sex Establishments would/would not be deemed appropriate; to be effective from 1st July 2019. 

 

(3)  That the charging arrangements for the licensing of Sex Establishments, to be effective from 1st July, 2019, be approved.

Supporting documents: