Lapdancing appeal by Oxford church fails

A church has lost its appeal to stop lapdancing at a club in Oxford.

The Lodge Gentlemans Club, in Pennyfarthing Place, was given a licence to allow lapdancing last December, and opened two months later.

Reverend Vaughan Roberts of St Ebbe's Church launched an appeal against the ruling because of concerns over public safety.

A judge at Oxford Magistrates' Court threw out the appeal, saying there was no evidence of a safety risk.

'Avoid conflict'

The church said 800 people had signed a petition ahead of the hearing on Wednesday.

Mr Roberts said the granting of the licence was "inappropriate" because of its proximity to the church, and that such clubs made women feel vulnerable.

He added: "We are obviously disappointed about the decision because it doesn't fit with the council's intention to regenerate this area of the city and doesn't take into account that women should be able to feel as safe as possible when they are out at night.

"It also doesn't seem to fit with the views of many Oxford residents and visitors who were so keen to express their support for the appeal when they became aware that the club was opening."

One of the owners, Alistair Thompson, said they tried to avoid conflict with neighbours.

He said: "We don't advertise what the building is, and what is going on inside.

"Unless someone had read about it in the newspaper, most people from the church would not know what was going on inside that building."

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