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Lap dance laws welcomed in Crouch End

PUBLISHED: 12:31 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:47 07 September 2010

CAMPAIGNERS who fought off proposals for a lap dancing club in Crouch End have welcomed a law change which gives councils a stronger case to reject the establishments. Campaign group Lap Off! successfully opposed plans last year for a lap d

Rhiannon Evans

CAMPAIGNERS who fought off proposals for a lap dancing club in Crouch End have welcomed a law change which gives councils a stronger case to reject the establishments.

Campaign group Lap Off! successfully opposed plans last year for a lap dancing club at a former Salvation Army hall on Tottenham Lane. However chairwoman Alison Lillystone says their fight could have been easier, or even unnecessary, had these new laws been in place when they fought their battle.

Current licensing laws place lap dancing clubs in the same category as pubs and cafes, meaning councils can only object on the grounds of crime, nuisance or public safety.

But new measures being introduced in April mean clubs will be classed as sex establishments, meaning residents will be able to oppose the venues on ground of it being "inappropriate" for the area.

It also makes the licences more expensive, claimed Ms Lillystone, something which could have meant their battle never even had to get off the ground.

"It's high time the government did change the law," she said. "As I understand it because the places are classed as a sex encounter establishments there is a big difference in the cost of the licence. That makes it much less attractive for people to open lap dancing clubs, which is a good thing so we very much welcome it.

"If this law had been in place a year ago, would they have still gone ahead with their plans in Crouch End? I doubt it, because of the cost involved apart from anything else."

MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, Lynne Featherstone, who campaigned alongside residents said: "I am absolutely delighted - I welcome tougher laws making sure local communities get a veto on lap dancing clubs.

"After campaigning with LapOff campaigners and Crouch End residents against the application for a lap dancing club at the Music Palace, it is fantastic that, in the future, local people's views will have to be taken into account by law - and will be a valid reason to reject applications, where local people don't want such an establishment.

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