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Club boss could appeal after decision

PUBLISHED: 05:20 25 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:20 24 February 2010

A NIGHTCLUB boss said he may appeal after his controversial plan to open a town centre lap dancing establishment was rejected by councillors last night.

A NIGHTCLUB boss said he may appeal after his controversial plan to open a town centre lap dancing establishment was rejected by councillors last night.

Seamus McConalague, managing director of Lion Entertainments, wanted to open a table and lap dancing venue where around 20 girls would entertain up to 100 customers at Newmarket's Club M.

But members of Forest Heath District Council's licensing committee rejected the application after objectors claimed the establishment would make Newmarket Suffolk's "sex club capital."

The committee agreed that such an establishment would be "inappropriate" and would detract from the town's character.

Last night Mr McConalague said: "We will now sit back and look at why they refused the application and decide whether it was legal or not.

"We have put an awful lot of time and effort into this and we will see what our lawyers say and we may appeal against the decision. It's not dead yet."

During last night's meeting the committee heard that 200 people signed a petition against the scheme and were worried the club, in the town's High Street, could create further problems with under age drinking and drug abuse.

Newmarket resident Jill Buckingham said: "Newmarket is an attractive town, but the two nightclubs we have already cater for 3,000 people. We are already the nightclub capital of Suffolk, should Newmarket also become the sex club capital.

"Some people already feel uncomfortable walking day the High Street on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. This council owe it to the residents to protect them from further irritation."

Kevan Crane, pastor of Newmarket's Community Church added: "The club would be opposite a children's playground and will be highly visible. We already have problems with sexual activity in nearby toilets, why feed this type of behaviour."

Other protesters insisted the establishment would attract prostitutes to the area and cause public order problems.

Despite the objections Lion Entertainments operation's manager Brian Mitchell, who is already running a lap dancing club in Luton, said people had the wrong perception of the proposed establishment.

"People's perception of a lap dancing club is completely wrong. People have an image of them being sleazy and down trodden, but this is not the case. We take great pride and pleasure in what we do, it is very professional and there is nothing seedy about it. Our club would be strictly over 21s and there would be stringent guidelines to adhere to."

Despite his comment the committee voted to reject the plan.

The council's solicitor Jonathan Reed said: "The committee feels the club would have an adverse effect on public disorder and would detract from the character of the town.

"It would have an adverse effect on people in the vicinity of the club. We fear there may be breaches in the conditions and there could be body contact between the dancers and the customers. It could also attract prostitutes to the area."


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