Blackpool to let all lap dancing clubs close in bid to be more family friendly

Authorities in Blackpool have begun a process they hope will eradicate the town’s lap dancing clubs for good in an attempt to make it more family friendly.

There are currently four clubs operating in the famous seaside resort, but Councillor Adrian Hutton, who chairs the licensing committee, hopes that will drop to zero in the next few years.

Rather than the council forcing venues to cease trading immediately, it is taking a "softly, softly" approach.

When one closes or loses its licence under its current owner "we will not renew the licence for anybody else who came along", Mr Hutton explained.

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He believes the clubs’ popularity is because of stag and hen parties which can have a negative effect on Blackpool’s image as a family destination.

Those in favour of preserving them argue that their existence has no negative impact on the culture of the city – and, if anything, is good for the local economy.

"There is no reason why adult entertainment and family-friendly entertainment can’t exist (together)," said Toni Mansell, a stripper for ten years and now a passionate advocate of the rights of strippers and sex workers.

"We’re not asking anyone to put a topless bar in the middle of Disneyland," she added.

When the clubs do close, a number of women will inevitably lose their jobs. Ms Mansell believes sex workers are a "very disenfranchised faction of people" and appear to be "under the chopping block all the time".

But the charity Not Buying It, which campaigns against the porn and sex trades, said that according to a study conducted by the UK strip industry, 70% of dancers make no money by the end of their shift.

In March, protests took place in Bristol over similar plans to close down the lap dancing clubs there, despite the fact that the council’s controversial move could cost more than 100 jobs.

Councillor Hutton said he hopes the two ban will have an impact across the UK.

If the current strategy does not prove successful then the council will "look at it again and see whether we need to take any other actions," he added.

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