Published on 5th November 2021
The council’s Licensing Committee this week (Wednesday 3 November 2021) determined a renewal application for a sexual entertainment venue at ‘The 2 Pigs’ by Red Apple Associates Ltd.
The license is from early evening until 5am from 14 to 19 March 2022 for the festival in March.
The council, including members of Licensing Committee, is aware of the local and national debate on the appropriateness of this type of activity in today’s society and the strength of local feeling. However, it is constrained by legislation under which there is a statutory exemption for infrequent sexual entertainment; meaning that venues can put on such sexual entertainment without the need for a licence and therefore, outside any regulatory control.
Through a licensing regime, the authority is able to impose strict operating conditions and have full rights of entry and access to inspect these venues. The council believes that, until there is a change in the legislation that removes or restricts the statutory exemption, the best course of action is to license venues that offer sexual entertainment.
The statutory guidance with the legislation makes clear that the council, as regulator, cannot take a moral view on sexual entertainment and, must recognise Parliament has made it lawful to operate Sexual Entertainment Venues.
After comprehensive and serious consideration of the relevant legislation and guidance, the council’s policy statement, the application, all comments received during the statutory 28 day consultation period and the submissions made by the applicant and some of the objectors, the committee granted the renewal.
Chair of the council's licensing committee, Cllr Dr David Willingham, said: “I would like to thank the groups who have made representations and contributed to the discussion and debate. It’s incredibly important that we retain a focus on keeping women safe and we will not waiver from that commitment.
“Whilst the committee and I fully understand these concerns, we have to abide by legislation. Under the current legislation, either we approve and regulate, or we don’t, and venues operating with licences and the accompanying regulations offer more protection and control to help safeguard workers, customers and the public.
“Legislation does not allow objections on moral grounds. However no evidence was presented by the police, the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner, or any other party which contradicted the application which the government has indicated is lawful, as directly causing any of the harms that the objectors raised.
‘’We are grateful for the crime statistics provided to us by police colleagues, but the data did not suggest any direct causal link between crime generally and particularly in respect of sexual offences at this venue, or in its vicinity during race week in 2019.
“On behalf of the council I have previously attempted to encourage the Government to review the legislation and will continue to press them on this issue. We recognise the importance of robust legislation that will allow the authority more local discretion to set licensing policies that are right for Cheltenham.’’
Louis Krog, licensing team leader, said ‘’It is really important that everyone who uses and enjoys Cheltenham's vibrant night-life feels safe. The council works with a variety of people during race week including: Gloucestershire police, GRASAC, Chelt Safe, University of Gloucestershire, street pastors and the Cheltenham Guardians. Cheltenham is a ‘Purple Flag’ accredited town, independently assessed on, amongst other things, the safety of a night out in the town.
“Our focus will remain on ensuring that venues operate in accordance with the strict conditions and other licensing restrictions imposed on them, including visible safety schemes such as ‘Ask For Angela,’ ‘Ask for Frank,’ and ‘Ask for Clive’ and that venue staff are properly briefed.”
Find out more about our Purple Flag status.
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The committee’s scope for consideration is limited to:
- the statutory discretionary grounds for refusal
- the comments by the objectors and
- the fact that this application must be determined on its individual merits
Unless there is evidence that the operation of this licensed venue can be associated with the issues arising from the council’s recent survey regarding women’s safety (i.e. that this venue is causing sexual harassment), then the committee cannot consider it relevant.
Legislation: Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, as amended by the Policing and Crime Act 2009
By law, a premises can offer relevant entertainment on an infrequent basis without the need to obtain a sexual entertainment venue licence, provided that the relevant entertainment does not occur for longer than 24 hours, with at least a calendar month separating each occasion, and on no more than 11 occasions over a 12 month period. To take advantage of this exemption, the premises must have the required permissions (such as performance of dance and music) under the Licensing Act 2003 either by means of a Temporary Events Notice or the premises' current premises licence.
‘Ask for Angela’, ‘Ask for Frank,’ and ‘Ask for Clive’ are agencies offering support, advice and inclusion for females, males, and members of the LGBT+ community.