Public’s views sought on sex establishments

C-Beds

- Credit: Archant

A COUNCIL is seeking people’s views on the regulation of sex establishments in the area.

Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) is updating its policy on the licensing of strip clubs, sex shops and sex cinemas after residents recently expressed concern about sexual entertainment venues being allowed in their area.

The policy would prevent the licensing of sex establishments in town centres.

In a telephone survey of 1,123 residents, 63 per cent were against licences being issued in their area and at least 80 per cent were opposed to sex entertainment venues operating in the vicinity of religious buildings, schools, residential areas and places frequented by children and families.

Shefford resident Rebecca Mitchell, 30, said: “If it was an Ann Summers shop then I feel it’s ok because it looks more classy, but the shops that have the blacked out windows look tatty and sleazy. They give themselves a bad name.”

Elizabeth Wayte, 63, said: “I do not like them at all. They are a blight on the high street and quite unnecessary. Even without a family I find them offensive.”

Cllr Brian Spurr, executive member for sustainable communities (services) at CBC, said: “As part of our aim to make Central Bedfordshire a great place to live and work, we’re keen to ensure the character of our towns are preserved and that our high streets remain places where all members of the public feel safe and keen to spend time. This draft policy demonstrates our commitment to protecting families and that we’ve listened to residents’ opinions given in the telephone survey.

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“We now want to consult the public more widely, to understand their views on whether the level of strictness of the draft policy is appropriate.”

Residents can read the full policy and the consultation document and comment via an online form at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations

A paper copy of the consultation document and comment form can be collected from one of the council’s customer services offices or residents can telephone 0300 300 4394 to request a copy.

The consultation will run until August 30.