Strip club: Swansea decision deferred on plan near York Place Baptist Church

Awaiting decision for pole dancing and strip club in Swansea

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Councillors have deferred a decision on whether to grant a licence for a pole dancing and strip club next to a city centre church.

Thomas-Bellis Leisure Ltd wants to set up the Bellissima club in York Street, Swansea.

York Place Baptist Church's minister, the Reverend Haydn Dennis, called the plan "brazen".

More than 1,000 opponents have signed a petition.The applicant has been asked to comment.

A report discussed by councillors on Wednesday said the Swansea-based applicant "proposes to use the premises for relevant entertainment which may include: lap dancing, pole dancing, table dancing, strip shows, peep shows..."

Start Quote

To have the effrontery to put it next door to my church - how much more brazen can you get?”

End Quote Rev Haydn Dennis York Place Baptist Church

"The applicant intends to use the premises between 22:00 and 04:00 hrs Monday to Sunday".

But the solicitor for the applicant said the company intended to restrict the club to pole dancing and stripping only.

The petition opposed to the plans was submitted to Swansea council.

In a separate letter, the church's minister, the Reverend Haydn Dennis, wrote: "There are deep spiritual objections to this proposal and a concern for the welfare of the young people who will be involved in this type of establishment."

He also highlighted in his letter the council's policy which says "as a general rule," a presumption will be made against licensing of a sex establishment if it is "near places of worship".

He told BBC Wales: "To have the effrontery to put it next door to my church - how much more brazen can you get?"

'Wholly inappropriate'

Mr Dennis said there had been "tremendous support" from the public, and 1,026 people had signed his petition so far.

He added that the church had made it clear the plans were against the council's own policy, adding: "How can they possibly pass it?"

He said he notified the council weeks ago that he wished to speak at Wednesday's meeting, but was told on Tuesday he had to make a formal application.

He said: "It gives me no time at all. The council told me on Tuesday I had to apply to them and the leisure company.

"What possible chance have I got? I applied in plenty of time. I'm not very happy."

York Place Bapist Church with Bellissima to the left of it York Place Baptist Church with Bellissima to the left of it

In addition, a letter from York Place Baptist Church treasurer, Stephen Jones, objects to the proposals "on the grounds that it is an 'inappropriate' use of space with the activity being considered to be a form of exploitation rather than an activity classed as usual entertainment for a premises such as this".

'Family venues'

It adds that the "location for this type of venture is also wholly inappropriate, not just because of its location next to the church, but because the venue would be located in close proximity to attractions used extensively by young people and families...".

Another objector wrote: "Whilst this type of 'entertainment' is wrong on so many levels including the denigration of women into mere objects, what I am most horrified about is the proposed location for this lap dancing club.

"Opposite a 'youth-themed' burger bar, Eddie Rockets, within eyeshot of the Vue Cinema, on a thoroughfare that links Swansea Museum and the Waterfront Museum into town as well as a short stroll to the LC [leisure centre].

"These are all family venues...."

BBC Wales has asked the applicant to respond.

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