I am writing as a ward councillor to lodge an objection to the renewal of the Spearmint Rhino licence.
In doing so, I wish to support residents and other businesses in City Ward who are adversely affected by this lap-dancing club.
Whilst Spearmint Rhino has been trading for a number of years, its location is becoming increasingly unsuitable for a lap-dancing club. The growing development of the Cultural Industries Quarter and the expansion of student accommodation and teaching locally are highly relevant to the appropriateness of the location. The premises are located on what is to be known as the Knowledge Gateway, recognising the enhancement of the area as a place of creative knowledge and progressive development.
A lap-dancing club is increasingly at odds with this vision. I am therefore disappointed that the application form submitted does not attempt to address any of the licensing objectives except by stating it is a renewal application.
The nature of a lap-dancing club means there is significant difference in the treatment of the sexes. In particular, I understand the establishment treats the regular staff (mostly if not all, men) as employees but requires the dancers (i.e. women) to be self-employed, with correspondingly lower degrees of employment protection. This is not a matter of choice on the part of the dancers. The local authority must demonstrate it has due regard to the various principles in the public sector equality duty when considering the application, so as to comply with its own legal obligations.
If the authority is minded to grant the licence, I would support a condition requiring all workers, including dancers, to be engaged directly only under the terms of a written contract of employment.
I trust the Committee will take these views into account.
Cllr Douglas Johnson,
City Ward, Sheffield