A LAPDANCE club owner vowed to reopen within weeks — as council bosses rubber-stamp plans which say there should be no such venues in Rotherham town centre.
Mark Etches said Renoirs & Rouge would be back in business before the end of June after closing for nine months — but has withdrawn an application for fully-nude dancing.
Meanwhile RMBC’s cabinet is expected to approve a new policy on Monday which presumes there should be zero sexual entertainment establishments.
Mr Etches said: “I don’t think they realise the damage they are doing. We employ 50 to 60 people. We are all getting tarred with the same brush.
“We’re currently having a refit inside. Nothing is stopping us re-opening and we’ll be open again in two to three weeks.
“The girls who are fighting for this policy are doing it for girls who don’t want to be fought for.
They’re not forced into it, they are really happy and our old customers will be now too.”
To allow time to comply with new rules, existing operators can continue providing the same entertainment for 12 months into the new regime.
The annual fee for a new sex establishment licence is £7,560 and is currently only paid by sex shop Pulse & Cocktails at Canklow.
There has been a suggestion that the amount could be seen as excessive — potentially leading to legal challenges.
But council licensing manager Alan Pogorzelec said: “We feel it’s reasonable.”
The new policy suggests Renoirs & Rouge would be turned down if and when a renewal application is heard by RMBC’s licensing committee.
Mr Pogorzelec said: “There’s a general presumption that the town centre isn’t suitable. It doesn’t mean it’s an absolute no.
“The committee may choose to issue a licence despite it being in the town centre. If not the premises might decide to move, or can appeal to the magistrates’ court.”
Mr Etches said his venue would continue as normal for now but admitted they could be forced out of Rotherham town centre in the future.
“It’s always a possibility,” he added. “But it’s always a possibility with all businesses. They can do it to any bar or shop, and reconstruct a whole town how they like.”
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