Lap dancing bars in Edinburgh and Glasgow could soon be subject to much tougher regulations if proposals to introduce licences are given the go ahead.
Both city councils are consulting on plans to introduce Sexual Entertainment Venue (SEV) licences.
As part of the consultation, locals are being asked whether SEVs should be introduced and if so, how many. The consultation also seeks their views on the most suitable location for adult venues.
Edinburgh is inviting responses on the proposed SEVs until August 17, while the Glasgow consultation ends on August 23.
Catherine Fullerton, the licensing convenor on Edinburgh council, told The Times: “The council is currently consulting on whether sexual entertainment venues should be licensed in Edinburgh, following the introduction of new legislation by the Scottish government.
“The consultation aims to gather views on whether the council should adopt these powers and on how any licensing system for sexual entertainment venues could look, should it be introduced.”
The plans could leave city councils free to choose whether to issue licences at all.
Lap dancing and strip bars have been subject to licences in England and Wales since 2003, but some councils have taken a tougher line by refusing to allow any new clubs to be opened. In some parts of England, a cup limits the number of clubs operating in the area.
Stephen McGowan, of the law firm TLT and chairman of the Institute of Licensing in Scotland, told The Times it was possible that a council may cap new licences at zero.
“If a council decides to set a limit of zero then of course that will have considerable impact on any existing businesses and employees, as well as the dancers, as it would mean the premises could no longer legally trade,” he said.
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