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Policy rules out ban on sex sites on trunk roads to city

Strip clubs and lap dancing bars will be allowed to open on trunk roads leading into the city centre – but they will not be allowed to advertise outside. Concern has been raised that the local authority’s revised p0licy on sex establishments does not do enough to prevent adult entertainment venues opening on Canterbury’s outskirts. But the council has ruled out a ban, saying it would rather prevent such places from operating in the city centre. Councillors were told that in the north of the country sex establishments were increasingly setting up on the sites of motorway roadside diners. They heard from a member of the public who pointed out that similar venues could theoretically appear on sites such as the A2 motorway services near Upper Harbledown. Under current policy, the council prevents sex establishments opening near housing, schools, family shopping and leisure areas and health and community facilities. They are also prevented from operating near historic buildings, tourist attractions and places of worship. According to its guidance, sex establishments can include sex shops, sex cinemas and sexual entertainment venues. Jeremy Baker, a solicitor living in the city, asked the city council to tweak its policy to also prevent sex establishments opening on “main roads, particularly trunk roads, unless the premises would not be visible from the roads”. He told the council’s executive:

“When driving in the north last summer, I became aware of an increasing number of sex shops beside main trunk roads, often in roadside services buildings such as former Little Chef restaurants or garage premises. On part of the A1, there are two such premises, prominently painted externally in white with large red lettering on the walls reading ‘Adult Store’. Because of their prominent position, these stores are seen by thousands of passing families every day, and give a tasteless impression of the area through which one is passing.”

Mr Baker said he was concerned that the council’s policy did not adequately protect against the possibility of similar stores opening in the district. He said:

“I think it would be totally inappropriate for such premises to be located on main roads such as the A2 or the Thanet Way within the Canterbury district, to be seen by families and children passing the city of Canterbury on their way to Dover or Ramsgate on holiday.”

Despite Mr Baker’s request, the council rubber-stamped its latest sex establishment policy without the trunk road provision. Andrew Cook, Tory councillor for Herne Bay’s Heron Ward, assured the executive that revised rules prevented sex entertainment venues being labelled as such in their signage. He added:

“The view from the overview and scrutiny committee is that if you put them (sex venues) out of town it takes them away from the town centre.”

According to the council’s licence conditions for sex establishments:

“There shall be no advertisement or promotional material used by the premises which is unsuitable to be viewed by children, for example, by way of sexually provocative imagery or which indicates that relevant entertainment takes place on the premises.”

Council spokesman Rob Davies said earlier policy had no such condition. Each case was considered on its individual merits and particular locations are considered in accordance with the details in the policy.

Herne Bay Gazette, March 19th 2015

The shape of things to come? Strip clubs could open on trunk roads leading into Canterbury
The shape of things to come? Strip clubs could open on trunk roads leading into Canterbury
Cllr Andrew Cook
Cllr Andrew Cook

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