‘Wrong place’ - objection to opening lap dancing bar in Liverpool city centre

City councillor brands the location of sexual entertainment venue inappropriate.

A lap dancing bar in Liverpool city centre is bidding to have its licence to operate reinstated.

An application has been lodged to Liverpool Council by Dreamers on Victoria Street for a sexual entertainment venue licence after its original terms lapsed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Following the lockdown imposed as the virus spread across the country, a personal licence held by Gareth Kim Yuan Loh expired on March 29, 2021.

A dancer on stage. Aleksandr Rybalko - stock.adobe.

According to its website, Liverpool Council does not “take a moral stand in the licensing of sex establishments and recognises that Parliament has made it lawful to operate a sex establishment and that such businesses are a legitimate part of the retail and leisure industries.” It has adopted legislation that allows the licensing of sex shops, sex cinemas and sexual entertainment venues in the city.

The forms of “relevant” entertainment commonly understood to be connected with Sexual Entertainment Venues are lap dancing, pole dancing, table dancing, strip shows, peep shows and live sex shows. According to its social media accounts, Dreamers described itself as a “premier lap dancing club”.

Under its original licence, nobody under the age of 18 was permitted to enter the venue and “a performer on any stage area must at all times wear at least a G-string during the performance.” According to the terms of the licence, striptease entertainment was permitted to be given only by the performers and no audience participation will be allowed.

It said: “During a striptease performance at a table, performers may not touch customers in any way; approach closer than 30cms (12″) from any part of a customer; part their legs; climb onto furniture; perform with another dancer or simulate sex acts.”

The application by Dreamers to re-establish itself in the city has been met with opposition by Cllr Nick Small, central ward member. He said Victoria Street was “the wrong place for a venue like this.”

Cllr Nick Small says Victoria Street, Liverpool, has changed a lot since Dreamers last applied for a licence. Image: Google

Cllr Small added: “I’ve objected to this new licence. When the original licence was awarded many years ago, this part of the city centre was very different, as was Liverpool’s night time economy offer. We’ve not got many LGBT+ friendly venues around Victoria Street. It’s much more residential.

“We’ve got high quality venues like Zenn on the ground floor of the new multi-storey car park. This is the wrong place for a venue like this.”

Liverpool Council will not grant or renew a sex establishment licence whereby “the character of the locality is of a residential, or predominantly residential, nature” or the character of the “locality is historically important.“ Such venues are also not permitted near schools, children’s nurseries, youth clubs, children’s centres or similar such establishments which children under 18 years of age may reasonably be expected to attend.

Securing a renewal of the licence could cost the applicants £1,600 according to Liverpool Council’s website. Comments on the application are open until October 6. A date for it to be considered by the local authority has yet to be confirmed.