MORE than one in five of the adult population in Sawtry has signed a petition opposing a sex shop in the village.

MORE than one in five of the adult population in Sawtry has signed a petition opposing a sex shop in the village.

A Rotherham-based chain, which trades as Pulse and Cocktails, has applied to Huntingdonshire District Council to operate from the former ­Little Chef building in Toll Bar Way, close to the A1(M).

On Monday, campaigner Janie Hawkes handed a 1,138-signature petition from the village - population 6,900 - to the district council.

But, in spite of calls from residents, and former county council leader Keith Walters for HDC to introduce a blanket policy to ban sex establishments before deciding the licence application, it is unlikely to happen.

There is still time for the district council's licensing and protection panel to hold an extraordinary meeting to produce a resolution to that effect for endorsement by the full council later this month.

But the panel's chairman, Councillor Terry Bell, said rushed law was usually bad law.

"I'm not in favour of such a ban. The company operates 20-odd of these elsewhere in the country, and I want more background from them. We should get that at the hearing.

"I'm not in favour of blanket bans, and it would seem technically wrong to rush a policy through - we are supposed to deal with each application on its merits.

"I can understand the disgruntlement, but I have not yet been out on a visit, so I haven't taken a view. The public can be assured that we shall take the right decision."

HDC leader Cllr Ian Bates is away and his deputy Cllr Mike Simpson said it was too early to say whether the council would adopt a blanket policy. "It needs to be considered in depth," he said.

The deadline for comments is today (Wednesday), and the application is likely to be determined by the panel at its next scheduled meeting on October 26.