Strip club drops legal challenge against Harrogate council as new licence agreed
A legal challenge between Harrogate's only strip club and the council has been dropped after the owners warned a ban on dancers drinking alcohol would "simply finish the business."
Kings Club on Oxford Street, had its sexual entertainment licence renewed by the council's sub-licensing committee last September but conditions that dancers do not drink alcohol and must be paid by bank transfer led to the owners lodging an appeal with York Magistrates' Court.
An appeal hearing was due to take place on 28 May but will now no longer go ahead after committee members agreed to new licensing rules at a meeting on Wednesday.
Speaking at the meeting, Paul Kinsey, the owner of Kings Club, told councillors that he and dancers themselves ensured they do not drink excessively "because drunk girls don't earn money".
He said: "The dancers are all there to earn money and they themselves realise that actually they are not there to drink. They are very self aware they don't want to be drunk because drunk girls don't earn money."
Mr Kinsey also gave reassurances that dancers are escorted to a safe mode of transport at the end of their shifts, as his legal representative Paddy Whur argued an alcohol ban would "simply finish the business" due to dancers not wanting to work.
Mr Whur said: "We do want dancers to have the opportunity to have a drink with the customers. That is something that has always happened here. It happens in every venue nationally of this type.
"Quite often customers will go into the premises and they don't even want to be dancing. They will buy a drink for a dancer and sit and talk to them.
"You wouldn't get dancers coming to work here if they weren't allowed to socialise."
Mr Whur also said the venue "wouldn't get the quality of girls that we want" if payments to dancers had to be made through bank transfer.
He added: "A lot of dancers will not work here if they have to be paid in BACS - they want the money when they finish their shift and that is for a variety of reasons.
"We do keep a very clear audit trail of who has paid what and when. Everything is done properly."
In September, councillors raised concerns over the safety of dancers after they heard how council officers inspected the venue in 2019 and found some panic alarms in dancing booths were not working correctly, although they were repaired the same day.
Councillors were also told that the venue had been in "cahoots" with two former dancers over payments, although this was dismissed by legal representatives at the time.
It was agreed by councillors on Wednesday that the venue's new sexual entertainment licence would be renewed with the ban on dancers drinking alcohol and need for them to be paid by bank transfer removed.
The new conditions will be added to existing licensing rules which include no physical contact between dancers and customers, no photography, no throwing of money and no use of sex toys.
The sexual entertainment licence covers topless pole dancing, topless stage strip tease and full nudity lap dancing, and is separate to the venue's alcohol and premises licence.
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter