They’re probably under the radar of most people who live here, but York does have a few licensed sex establishments.
At present there is one sex shop and two sexual entertainment venues – often known as lap dancing clubs – licensed to operate in the city.
Now these businesses, and any similar ones that open here in the future, could be placed under the control of a new policy drawn up by City of York Council.
The council drafted the Licensing of Sex Establishments Policy after a year of research. A working party involving councillors, council officers and police visited York’s two lap dancing clubs to see how they operate and talk to the managers and the dancers.
They also held a public consultation to gauge residents’ views on these establishments.
Of the 325 responses, 39% felt it was not acceptable to have lap dancing clubs anywhere in York, while 55% had no issues with them being located here.
The new policy builds on this research and is designed to make the rules – and the penalties for breaking them – clearer.
The protection of dancers is one of the priorities of the new policy, along with safety and security and what is considered acceptable and unacceptable conduct.
For example rules in the new policy state:
Throughout the lap or table dance customers will remain seated and fully clothed, with their hands clearly visible, either resting on the arms of the chair/sofa or on the seat cushion, or customers must be asked to sit on their hands.
Licence holders would have to ensure that the house rules for both customers and performers are strictly adhered to.
Leader of York council David Carr said: “Residents’ feedback on this new policy has been heeded while the group has carefully considered the legal and licensing conditions because we need to ensure absolute clarity for the sector and for licensing officers.”
The new policy will be discussed at the gambling, licensing and regulatory committee on Tuesday, September 13, with a view to it going out to consultation. You can read the report and draft policy here.
Examples of house rules
Dancers may only dance to seated customers
Customers must remain clothed at all times
Dancers must not be touched by the customer while they are dancing except for the placing of gratuities into the hand or garter of the dancer at the beginning or conclusion of the performance
No person shall take any video recordings or photographs by any means of the authorised adult entertainment
No persons other than performers and authorised staff shall be permitted in the dressing/changing rooms
All performers shall be over 18 years of age
No performer shall be allowed to work if they appear to be intoxicated or under the influence of illegal substances
Performers shall not use any props or clothing in the act which portrays them as a minor
Garters worn for the collection of gratuities shall be situated no higher than mid thigh
Dancers shall re-dress at the conclusion of the performance and are to remain clothed (minimum bikini top and bottoms) at all times except when giving a performance