Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh council asks for power to license lap dancing bars

Edinburgh could soon have the power to license its lap dancing bars. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Edinburgh could soon have the power to license its lap dancing bars.

Edinburgh councillors will be asked to give the city the power to license its lap dancing bars.

If they agree to the proposal, the City of Edinburgh Council would have power to license sexual entertainment venues by next summer.

If they don't, city lap dancing bars will continue to operate without any "direct influence" from the council.

In April, the Scottish government brought in laws which allow councils to limit the number of such venues.

This includes setting a zero limit.

'Evidence sessions'

At a meeting on Monday, the local authority's regulatory committee will be asked to give the council the right in principle to regulate its sexual entertainment venues.

Councillors have been advised that this is not a vote on whether Edinburgh should have any lap dancing venues.

The council recommends a decision on numbers, locations or appropriate areas of the city would be made after "evidence sessions" are heard, with existing clubs, dancers, the police and violence against women groups asked to participate.

The recommendation to Edinburgh councillors follows a public consultation in the city about the issue. Of the 806 respondents, the majority of whom identified themselves as residents, 65% agreed the council should have the power to license venues.

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Media captionCampaigner Megara Furie (left) and lap dancer Kayleigh Barrington have joined the GMB union

More than half of those who responded to the public consultation think there should be no lap dancing bars in any areas of the city apart from in the city centre, while 38% of people said there should be no venues there either.

Meanwhile, around 30% of respondents believed there should be no limit to the number of venues anywhere in the city, with that number falling to 21% for residential areas.

All six Scottish councils which currently have lap dancing bars in their areas are holding consultations on their future, or they are considering it.

Since the Scottish government brought in the legislation earlier this year, there has been a perception by lap dancers that their jobs are under threat. As a result, some of them have joined the GMB union.

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