December is a period that many bar owners look forward to. It's christmas party time and takings can soar, which is good because January is always a very quiet month. The same of course applies to lapdancing and strip clubs, the dancers have a great opportunity to earn well...........unless of course they work at a club in Leeds, specifically Deep Blue, Red Leopard and Wildcats. This is because Leeds Council Licensing Sub-Committee decided on 29th November not to renew the licenses of the clubs. The Council are demanding that the clubs should close on Friday 13th December at 4.00am in the morning.
The Licensing Sub-Committee consists of Cllr Karen Bruce, a long time opponent of clubs, Cllr Ryk Downes, Cllr Ghulam Hussain, Cllr Ashgar Khan and Cllr Chris Townsley. They are of course ultimately answerable to Cllr Becca Charlwood, who in an article in The Yorkshire Post seemed keen to distance herself from direct involvment in the decision, despite glorying in the fact that the clubs are to be closed and that 200 people will lose their jobs three weeks before Christmas.
These people must hate dancers and the clubs they work for to an extent that I find quite frightening. If anyone in the Council that had even the remotest connection to this decision had even a shred of comment decency, they could have at least let the clubs run until the New Year, at least let the people who rely upon the venues for income to save some cash. But they didn't do that. In act what they did was worse. They decided which clubs would close on 29th November and then kept quiet about it for 5 days, saying only today (5th December) that the clubs could stay open for just over a week.
It's not of course just dancers that will be affected, the club has bar staff, cleaners, door people and administrative staff as well. All out of work after next friday, all out of work 12 days before Christmas, all facing uncertain futures, all because of a group of vindictive, self righteous moralists want to get their own way.
I found it amazing how Becca Charlwood strives to justify what has happened.
“.....I’m very pleased that the committee have applied the policy of the council.....".
In other words Becca is expressing her delight that the security and futures of scores of families is now threatened because their main income was derived from something that Becca disapproves of.
“This policy change was created through public engagement and was heavily consulted upon".
Really. Do you mean the Leeds Citizens Panel? Where apparently 1092 people said there should be 4 or less clubs in Leeds? Do you mean the 25 boiler plate objections that referred to the Lilith Report?
“These were no doubt difficult decisions to make, but I think it is right to use the powers we have available to us as a council to help fulfill our ambition to be the best city in the UK for all our citizens and visitors.”
Sorry? '.....The best city in the UK for all our citizens....'. Becca has just made 200 of them redundant so its hard to see where she is coming from there, but it's interesting that she thinks it's 'right' that 200 people are going to lose their jobs.
I find it fascinating that the deliberations of the Licensing Sub Committee have been embargoed by the Council. So in other words we will never know what was said, or how they arrived at the decision to close three businesses that have never violated the terms of their licenses.
The owners of Wildcats and Red Leopard have stated publicly that they will take legal action against the Council. It is my sincerest hope that this materialises because if nothing else, court action will see some light shone on what I see to be a very murky set of decisions.
This is going to be a short article. I have others planned that will run all the way to Christmas. Now that Becca Charlwood has played her hand, we can respond and I ask readers of this article to consider something very important.
On July 18th of this year, I published on this blog an article that predicted that Red Leopard and Wildcats would be lined up for license refusal. How is it that I was correct?