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Restrictive conditions on licence

The interpretation of a condition may affect the operation of my premises

Q: I have operated a lap dancing club for over 10 years. On a recent licensing inspection, the Licensing Officer pointed out that there is a restrictive condition on my licence which says that the dancers must not interact with the customers in a particular way. The condition is not very clearly worded however, if I must abide by it, it would cause some problems for my operation and my customers would not be very happy! Can you help?

A: It is difficult to advise without seeing the licence and condition that you are referring to. If you operate a lap dancing club then you will have a premises licence with conditions, a separate Sexual Entertainment Venue licence that may also have specific conditions on it and finally the Local Authority who issued your licence may have their own ‘standard’ conditions for SEV licences, which apply to all SEV licences in their borough. First you should establish whether this condition is from your premises licence or SEV licence and, if so, then you may be able to vary the licence to remove the condition. If the condition is one of the Council’s ‘standard’ conditions for an SEV licence, it may form part of their Sex Establishment Policy and apply to all SEVs in their area, in which case you cannot remove it and you would have to comply unless and until they change their Policy. Their Policy is a local document and the condition would have been included for a particular reason. Remember, if a licence holder does not abide by any condition of their licence they may be committing a criminal offence. If in doubt about the interpretation of the condition, speak to the licensing authority and take legal advice.

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