A strip club in York has had its licence renewed – after sparking a debate about the relevance of such establishments in the city today.
Ziggy’s Club 55 in Micklegate had its sex establishment licence extended by councillors in York at a licensing and regulatory committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday).
But City of York Council’s deputy leader Cllr Pete Kilbane said he was “uncomfortable” with the unequal nature of strip clubs that almost exclusively provide entertainment for men at the expense of women.
Following the meeting, Cllr Kilbane, who is also the economy executive member, said: “I’m uncomfortable with these anachronistic establishments and I would like to see more debate on the topic.
“For example, if we are legally obliged to allow sex entertainment venues, then surely they should be more equal places.
“In York, they seem to be entirely about women providing entertainment for men.
“Why not the other way round or just non-binary?
“It seems to me that the discussions about sex establishments, and the types of venues that we licence, are stuck in the past.”
Not the Benny Hill Show
During the meeting, Cllr Kilbane asked whether councillors “essentially have no choice but to approve this licence.”
He added: “This is not the 1970s, this is not The Benny Hill Show and it just seems an anachronism that these establishments still exist.”
Cllr Kilbane also said: “Asking questions about the balance of male to female customers and performers in terms of the equality aspect that we think about when we are in committees are not relevant here, is that the case?”
The committee’s chair, Cllr Rachel Melly, said that council policies could be reviewed in the future but “right now we have to assess the application against the policies that we have.”
Lesley Cooke, the council’s licensing manager, said that it is in the power of local authority not to allow such establishments, but the current policy is that it would allow two.
Currently, Club 55 is the only club of its nature in York that “offers lap dancing.”