Harrogate strip club Villa Mercedes loses license after 'allowing audience participation'

Harrogate Magistrates Court
Harrogate Magistrates Court

Harrogate’s Villa Mercedes will no longer operate as a strip club after it was refused to renew its Sexual Entertainment Venue License (SEV).

On August 20, Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) refused to renew the club’s SEV license for reasons including physical contact with the dancers and allowing audience participation.

The club’s operator Tobasco Leisure Ltd withdrew their appeal against the refusal on Monday, November 16 at Harrogate Magistrates Court.

Chair of HBC’s Licensing Committee John Ennis said: “The operator of Villa Mercedes repeatedly fell short of what is required and failed to manage the premises and dancers.

“This was despite considerable input from the council and the police over a period of six months.”

An SEV license is required for any venue wishing to offer live performances or displays of nudity but is separate from the license permitting the sale of alcohol.

The decision means that sexual entertainment will now cease at Villa Mercedes but the club is permitted to continue selling alcohol.

North Yorkshire Police and HBC’s Licensing Enforcement Team presented evidence at the initial meeting against Villa Mercedes before Tobasco Leisure Ltd decided to appeal the decision.

The Court declined a request for an adjournment of the appeal hearing before the appeal was withdrawn. David Nosegbe, general manager of Villa Mercedes, was also ordered to £3,000 in costs to the council.