Six Edinburgh saunas to close after losing licences

image captionA proposal to ban items of a sexual nature from Edinburgh's licensed saunas was withdrawn

Six of Edinburgh's 13 licensed saunas are to close after the city council refused to grant licences.

The Licensing Sub Committee assessed information on the saunas, including reports from the police and objectors.

A submission by Police Scotland, calling for a ban on items of a sexual nature in saunas, was withdrawn without any discussion.

Safe sex campaigners were angered by condition, which they said would mean a ban on condoms in the city's saunas.

After the meeting, committee convener Councillor Gavin Barrie said: "The committee has carefully reviewed all the information presented, including information from any objectors and reports from Police Scotland.

"Each application was considered on its individual merits and of the 13 Public Entertainment licences that were considered today, seven have been renewed."

Earlier this year, six saunas had their licences suspended following raids across Edinburgh.

'Complex issue'

NHS Lothian supplies 130,000 free condoms to Edinburgh's licensed saunas every year.

Safe sex campaigners feared the police's original recommendations would have led to a ban on condoms in saunas.

Nadine Stott, a board member of the charity Scot-Pep, which campaigns for the rights of sex workers, said such a move would have "gone against all basic common sense".

And Supt Matt Richards stressed that Police Scotland did not advocate the banning of condoms.

He said: "At no point do the recommendations make reference to the banning of condoms. Police Scotland absolutely supports proper measures to protect sexual health.

"The issue of prostitution is a complex one and we work with the City of Edinburgh Council and local health services to ensure the safety of those involved in the sex trade."

He said it was up to the council's regulatory committee to decide which conditions were applied.

"We will continue to adopt a practical and positive stance towards harm reduction working with our partners in the health service local authority and third sector," he said.

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