HDC to investigate possibility of sex shop policy

HUNTINGDONSHIRE District Council is to look at the possibility of creating a policy on sex shops.

HUNTINGDONSHIRE District Council is to look at the possibility of creating a policy on sex shops.

The council has come under fire from protesters in Sawtry where Rotherham-based Cocktails Limited, which owns 23 sex shops, wants to add the former Little Chef, just off the A1(M) in Toll Bar Way, to its retail outlets.

Those opposing the Sawtry sex shop application believe HDC could - and should - create a policy which would rule where such shops can and cannot be opened.

Sawtry resident and former leader of Cambridgeshire County Council Keith Walters told The Hunts Post: “I believe, as does the local MP Shailesh Vara, that the district council are amiss in not having a policy in the first place.

“My proposal, which I have put to the council, is that they turn around and say ‘We haven’t had an application for a sex shop before, we can’t grant it until we have established a policy like other councils have. When the policy has been approved, we will look at your application and see if it appropriate.’

“However, the chief executive of the council has told me that it would be ‘inappropriate’ to do this.”

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Mr Walters continued: “The next question to ask is ‘So we’ve been caught out on this one, are you planning on putting a policy in place once this is over or waiting for the next five applications?’”

In a letter to The Hunts Post (see Page 6), Mr Walters cited Liverpool City Council, which has had a strict policy relating to sex establishments since 1989.

The policy states that the council considers that sex establishments are not suitable near historically-important streets, schools, shopping complexes, residential areas or places of worship.

Councillor Ian Bates, leader of the council, said yesterday that HDC would “be investigating the possibility of a future policy for this area”.

“Mr Walters is entirely correct that, currently, Huntingdonshire District Council has no policy relating to sex shops,” he said. “However, Cambridge and Peterborough city councils also have no policy, so we are by no means alone on this – we are with the majority, not the minority.”

A public meeting to discuss the controversial proposals will be held tonight (Wednesday) at Sawtry Community College from 7pm.

Cocktails Limited says its proposed shop would not only create local jobs but would be a modern, spacious and female-friendly atmosphere for couples to shop together.