South Ayrshire Council is expected to belatedly introduce new powers to regulate strip clubs and other adult entertainment venues.
In 2019, the Scottish Government passed legislation that allows councils to introduce a Sexual Entertainment Venue (SEV) license for premises that provide adult entertainment.
It would also allow the council to consider proximity to schools, churches and homes and consider issues around sexual assault and human trafficking.
But despite the proposals being approved in early 2020, South Ayrshire Council had not formally implemented the new policy, citing the pandemic for the delay. There are currently no adult entertainment venues in South Ayrshire.
Now, the issue will be discussed at the next leadership panel.
While the South Ayrshire Licensing Board has the power to regulate potential adult venues using existing premises licenses for the sale of alcohol, the Scottish Government has said that, without formal resolution, venues for sexual entertainment are “unregulated”.
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A council spokesperson said: “Council has passed a resolution to license sexual entertainment venues but implementation has been delayed due to the pandemic.
“A document was submitted to the leadership panel last year on this subject and another document will be submitted to the next leadership panel.
“At this time, assuming all locals wish to sell alcohol, they should still apply for a premises license and obtain adult entertainment permission.”
Licensing laws state that activities held on premises could be taken into account in determining whether they made the place unsuitable for the sale of alcohol.
Asked if the South Ayrshire Licensing Board could refuse an application solely on the activity itself, rather than in the context of the sale of alcohol, the spokesman said: “It would be a decision which the licensing board should consider in light of any representations or objections made.”
In its guidelines on SEVs, the Scottish Government states: “It is important to stress that it is not mandatory for a local authority to grant an SEV licence.
“If there is no resolution in place, no license is required to operate an SEV. The existing SEV could continue to operate, a new SEV could enter service, without a licence.
“Sexual entertainment in these venues would remain largely unregulated.”
A factor in the implementation of the license is the council’s requirement to determine the appropriate number of SEVs for their area and for each relevant locality within their area.
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