Sawtry’s former Little Chef could become sex shop

THE former Little Chef site in Sawtry could move from selling blueberry pancakes to blue movies if plans for a sex shop are approved.

THE former Little Chef site in Sawtry could move from selling blueberry pancakes to blue movies if plans for a sex shop are approved.

A Rotherham sex-shop firm has applied to Huntingdonshire District Council for a licence to reopen the abandoned buildings as an adult entertainment shop.

The proposals have already raised objections across the village and many more are expected after the consultation period was extended.

HDC’s licensing department was not satisfied that the original notice was displayed prominently enough, and the applicant, Cocktails Limited, has agreed to post a replacement. It was due to be put up on Tuesday (August 10), with a further three-week period for the public to make recommendations.

The applicant, whose 23 stores trade as ‘Pulses and Cocktails’, wants to take over the site – which has been derelict for a decade since the eight-lane A1(M) made it virtually unusable as a restaurant, hotel and filling station complex – from Travelodge.

It does not require planning consent to change the use of the building, but it does need HDC’s agreement under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 to open the premises to allow it to sell marital aids.

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The council can refuse the application if it decides it is inappropriate to the character of the locality, or to the use of nearby premises – for example, if it were next to a church or on a housing estate (neither of which it is) – or if it is not appropriate to the layout, character or condition of the premises. There is no appeal against refusal.

MP for North East Cambridgeshire Shailesh Vara told The Hunts Post that Sawtry was not the right place for a sex shop.

“I am very concerned about this application and will certainly be opposing it,” he said. “I have already raised this issue with the leader of Huntingdonshire District Council. This isn’t the right place for such a shop.”

New district councillor for Sawtry Darren Tysoe said he opposed the plan but would be attending on Wednesday evening’s (August 11) meeting of Sawtry Parish Council’s licensing committee to assess feelings in the village.

“It is inappropriate to have a sex shop in that location,” he told The Hunts Post. “It’s far too close to the village, and it would take a village much larger than Sawtry to sustain it. It’s just not the right location.”

Fellow councillor Dick Tuplin agreed. “It would be the first sex shop we have ever had in the district,” he said. “It would blight the sale of the motel next door, and we can’t object on moral grounds, so we have to think up other reasons.”