Sex licence decision could be overturned

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Campaigners against strip clubs have been successful in their request for a judicial review into the granting of a sexual entertainment licence for Shades in Old Town.

Following a hearing at the High Court in Birmingham last month, Judge Charles Purle QC ruled in favour of a group made up of members of the Leamington and Warwick Green Party, the Hindu Temple committee and townspeople on all four points they had challenged on the way Warwick District Council’s licencing committee and officers had handled the granting of the lap dancing club’s licence in August.

A judicial review of the hearing and process in which the decision was made will now go before the court no earlier than June and, should campaigners be successful, then another licensing hearing would be required .

Jonathan Chilvers, of the Green Party, said: “The whole process was flawed.

“Why was the licence granted after being refused twice?

“Why were flats only yards away not seen as being ‘local’?

“The list goes on, I’m delighted the court has backed our case for a full challenge.

“The decision was wrong in the way it was made and wrong for our town.”

The group has argued that the council’s licensing committee had an express statutory discretion to refuse the application on the grounds of the previous refusal but had failed to acknowledge this
 discretion properly or at all.

They have argued that the committee had failed to exercise any discretion in allowing objectors to add to or elaborate on any points they had already written down and submitted and that the committee failed to exercise any discretion in regard to refusing the application on grounds of there already being a number of sexual entertainment venues equal to or greater than the number 
appropriate to an area.

The group has also argued that the committee failed to have regard for the importance of consistency and further failed to give proper reasons for 
departing from the decisions of previous committees in light of the fact that applications for the premises had been refused twice in the previous 14 months.

The decision to grant the licence was made by a very close vote, with five 
councillors voting in favour of Shades and four councillors voting against.