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Public support for sex venue licences

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By Fiona Reid
Front
Public support for sex venue licences

COUNCILLORS will decide in June whether to set up a license scheme for potential sexual entertainment venues (SEVs) in the region.

Although there are no such establishments locally just now, officials are preparing a framework for the future.

And the results of a public consultation on the issue have been revealed.

Last year members of the public in Dumfries and Galloway were invited to give their views on the licensing of SEVs – and 71 per cent of the 157 participants said it should go ahead.

They believed that the introduction of licensing would provide control and regulation to the industry intended to help protect the wellbeing and safety of employees, customers and the wider community.

However, there was a lot of public concern that SEVs could come to the area with worries expressed about exploitation, anti social behaviour and lowering the local tone.

Comments included: “Sexual entertainment venues are demeaning to women and men alike”; “There is no need for SEVs in this area”; “Would rather it was kept to cities”; “I am absolutely appalled at the mere suggestion”; “They aren’t necessary and don’t promote an inclusive society”; and “Totally inappropriate and unnecessary.”.

A full report will go to councillors in June and they will have to decide if a resolution should be passed licensing SEVs.

If they agree, further work will be done to ascertain what areas, if any, of Dumfries and Galloway would be considered appropriate for such venues, and to map places of sensitivity, including schools, places of worship, residential areas and women’s refuges.

In a report on the matter, council solicitor Caroline Treanor explained the benefits of licensing, she said: “It is important to note that if no resolution is passed then SEVs could still operate in Dumfries and Galloway but without regulation under the licensing regime. This means that there would be no opportunity for members of the public to make representations or objections to applications and the council would not be able to have control over the locality of such an establishment, for example, whether it was near a school or a place of worship.

“Likewise, the council would not be able to attach conditions as there would be no licence in place.”

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