D-Day on Monday for Heaven Gentlemen’s Club in Newmarket as committee to decide on licence

The Heaven Gentlemens Club in Newmarket.

The Heaven Gentlemens Club in Newmarket. - Credit: Archant

A Newmarket lapdancing club – yards from a place of worship and a commemorative stone for Sir Henry Cecil – will be fighting for its future on Monday.

Heaven Awaits, which runs Heaven Gentlemen’s Club at 109 High Street, has applied to renew the venue’s sex establishment licence, but continues to face strong opposition from Newmarket Town Council, amongst others.

In an objection letter, Newmarket Town Clerk Isabelle Barrett said the proximity of the club to sites including churches, Memorial Gardens play area, the town hall and a commemorative walk named ‘Legends of the Turf’, including a dedication to the late trainer Sir Henry, was in conflict with Forest Heath’s own policy.

She wrote: “As the cultural home of horseracing, the town is famed and revered.

“It is totally unacceptable to continue to ruin its appeal with a tawdry sex establishment opposite the King Edward VII Memorial Hall [town hall] and Memorial Gardens, a community centre and a hub of public facilities.

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“These premises are located at the start of Newmarket High Street which is the centrepiece of this world-famous historic town.”

The town council has repeatedly objected to applications for the licence to be renewed – which Heaven Awaits must do every year.

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A report which is going before Forest Heath District Council’s licensing committee on Monday said the premises had been trading since April, 2006, and had held the licence since October, 2012.

Newmarket Town Council and Heaven Awaits now both have legal representation in the matter.

Newmarket Mayor Rachel Hood said the town council was now represented as they had been “very disappointed” the licence had been renewed in the past despite their concerns.

She said: “What other historic high street has a lapdancing club located slap-bang opposite the town hall in a very prominent place?”

The rector of St Mary’s with St Agnes, the Rev John Hardy, said in an objection letter that the club’s use of words such as angels “clashes with rather different notions of angels”.

Clare Eames, legal representative for Heaven Awaits, said: “My clients have made an application to renew a licence that’s been trading for a number of years. It’s now in the hands of the local authority committee to make their determination, which they will on Monday evening, and therefore it’s not really appropriate for us to say any more than that.”

Forest Heath District Council declined to comment ahead of the meeting.

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