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Anger at plans for lap-dancing club

PUBLISHED: 04:18 24 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:12 24 February 2010

WOMEN'S rights campaigners have launched an attack on plans for a nude lap-dancing club in Suffolk.

Branding the suggested venture at Club M in Newmarket as "sexist" and "degrading", Margaret Gould, president of the town's Women's Institute, said she fully expected her members to object to the proposals.

WOMEN'S rights campaigners have launched an attack on plans for a nude lap-dancing club in Suffolk.

Branding the suggested venture at Club M in Newmarket as "sexist" and "degrading", Margaret Gould, president of the town's Women's Institute, said she fully expected her members to object to the proposals.

Catering for around 100 customers, the operation would feature up to 20 women both lap and table dancing. If permission to change the club's existing entertainments licence to include these services is granted by Forest Heath District Council, its owner hopes the new venture could be open by summer.

"This is degrading to women and it is sexist," said Mrs Gould. "Why would a woman want to dance in the nude?

"We have enough trouble in Newmarket as it is, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. I am definitely against this. Newmarket is the wrong place."

Seamus McConalogue, managing director of Lion Entertainments – which owns the High Street club and a lap dancing venue in Luton – said he expected the proposals to provoke controversy.

"I think I'm going to be hung, drawn and quartered before this goes before the council, but I would invite objectors to come and look at the club we run in Luton, so they can see the true picture," he said.

"These clubs are not as bad as people think. I have been to several around the country, and have seen how professionally they are run.

"We have strict guidelines and house rules which have to be adhered to at all times."

He said customers would not be allowed physical contact with any of the dancers.

He added: "People are frightened by this sort of thing because they don't know what it is about. In Luton we have never had a complaint or any sort of trouble, and we have more good comments than bad."

The proposed club would cater strictly for those aged over 21, and would operate on six nights a week from the same premises as Club M. A separate entrance, to ensure the venture was distinct from the main club, would be provided, and clients will be offered private dances in individual cubicles or performances around a pole.

Suffolk police are currently considering the proposals, which are due before Forest Heath District Council's licensing committee next month.

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