‘Sex entertainment’ licence for former Chinese buffet refused
- Credit: Archant
Controversial plans for an adult entertainment venue in Colchester have been blocked after its application for a license was refused.
Planning permission for the Solo Summers club in Balkerne Hill, formerly a Chinese buffet, was originally approved by Colchester Borough Council in May after the decision was called in by councillors for further scrutiny.
But a licencing committee meeting on July 1 refused permission after hearing several objections from members of the public concerned about the implications of a sex-themed entertainment venue opening near Colchester town centre.
Ian Saunders, the boss of the company behind the plans, made his case to the licencing committee.
The refusal means Solo Summers, the business Mr Saunders runs named in honour of his late wife, can go ahead with the conversion of the former restaurant but cannot operate as a business.
MORE: Colchester high street car ban hailed a success by Extinction RebellionThe refusal means Solo Summers, the business Mr Saunders runs named in honour of his late wife, can go ahead with the conversion of the former restaurant but cannot operate as a business.Speaking at the meeting, Mr Saunders said the club was about “freedom of expression” and was not designed to be a strip club, despite a proposal for fully nude dancing to be available for customers in private booths.However, Simon Crow, Conservative councillor for Colchester’s Castle ward, was worried the venue would not be suitable for the area.Mr Crow said: “I would like to stress that this is not a moral judgement on my behalf about the nature of the proposed business.“If another venue of this nature is to open in Colchester, in addition to the existing venue on St Botolph’s Street, it should similarly be located in the heart of the town’s night-time economy.“The suitability of its proposed location right next to the Roman wall is also a concern.“The council has only recently completed works to light up this stretch of the wall to improve residents and visitors experience of our history and heritage.“It would be ironic if these became lights that guided people late at night to and from St Mary’s Car Park to a sexual entertainment venue.”MORE: what changes will take effect on ‘Super Saturday’?
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Plans for the building include three raised stages surrounded by tables, 10 private booths, two bars, a kitchen and a DJ booth on the first floor.
There were suggestions the venue would host a number of events including drag and cabaret shows, as well as singles and couples nights.
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A ground floor space with no adult entertainment facilities was designated for function hire, according to planning documents.