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Pre-emptive strike on sex shops and strip clubs

A sleepy Ulster town has said NO to sex shops and strip clubs — even though no one is planning to open any.

Larne Council is taking no chances even though there are no proposals to bring an X-rated business to the harbour town or surrounding villages in east Antrim.

Town Hall moral guardians passed a strict motion last week warning that sex establishments would not be welcome in the area.

By a majority, a motion was passed stating: “Council would not be minded to consider positively an application for a sex establishment in the area”.

Veteran Ulster Unionist councillor Roy Beggs — who proposed the anti-adult business motion — said it was “about time” to show that it’s a sin to flaunt flesh.

“Adam and Eve covered up after the Garden of Eden, so I think these businesses are completely inappropriate,” the former east Antrim MP told Sunday Life.

“I wanted council to let them know that if they approached us they would not be treated favourably.”

Party colleague Brian Dunn questioned whether the council had to powers to reject an application if a business passed legal requirements.

At the meeting Cllr Brian Dunn asked: “If someone wants to open a striptease club in Larne and they fulfil all the requirements, surely we cannot refuse just because we don’t want it?”

Council officers advised that the council should decide if an applicant received a licence based on criteria including the applicants background — but the decision could be open to a legal challenge.

Alderman Beggs’ motion was carried by seven votes to three.

Larne council also voted to abide by rules that state premises will not be used “for striptease or entertainment which involves nudity without the approval of council”.

The only exception granted was to actors who need to get naked for licenced plays.

It was highlighted at the council meeting that many of the restrictive measures on lap-dancing venues were set by the Government.

Last month, new laws were announced to force clubs in the UK to apply for new licenses.

They are to be reclassified as “sex encounter establishments”, and will have to reapply for permits costing up to £30,000.

Club owner Peter Stringfellow, 69, blasted the plans and said his lap-dancing venues are “gentlemen’s clubs”.

* Source: The Belfast Telegraph.