Hearing due on Sheffield grandmother's legal bid over council's strip club policy

Spearmint Rhino.
Spearmint Rhino.

A Sheffield grandmother's legal bid to limit the number of strip clubs that can be opened in the city is due to be heard by High Court judges tomorrow.

A draft council report published in December 2016 recommended there should be a a limit of two strip clubs in the city.

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But after further consultation the 'two-club limit' was replaced and a council report last year said the new policy 'does not specify any limit on sex establishments'.

A 54-year-old grandmother-of-five - who gave a fake name as 'Irene Gladdison' amid fears of reprisals - launched an online campaign and raised nearly £5000 to launch a legal challenge to overturn the no limit policy.

Her bid was granted a judicial review to look into the lawfulness of the council's decision and the case is due to be heard by a High Court judge in Leeds tomorrow. The court has the power to overturn the authority's decision.

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Irene brought the case because she believes the council did not fulfil its legal duty to consider the impact on all women and on gender equality when they agreed the ‘no limit’ policy.

There are currently two premises which operate under the licences in question in Sheffield - Spearmint Rhino lapdancing bar in the city centre and the La Chambre club in Attercliffe.

Irene's case has been supported by the Sheffield branch of the Women’s Equality Party.

The group campaigned for Spearmint Rhino's licence to be refused earlier this month but the council's licensing sub committee granted the club another 12-month operating licence.

Representatives for Spearmint Rhino argued the 'exterior club lights and security presence' enhanced the safety of the area.

Charlotte Mead, branch leader of the Sheffield Women's Equality Party said: "If the judge in the trial agrees that Sheffield’s approach is wrong, then this will help other councils to get it right in the future.

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A ruling in Irene’s favour will help councils to properly consider the negative impact that these venues have on all women and wider society.”

Sheffield Council and Spearmint Rhino have been approached for comment and we are waiting for replies.