OBJECTIONS to an established Bournemouth strip club’s licence renewal have only made been made on “moral grounds”, according to the venue’s solicitor.

Wiggle faced opposition from councillors Beverley Dunlop and Lisa Northover in relation to its sexual establishment venue licence renewal for its premises in Old Christchurch Road.

The councillor objections led to the application going before members of BCP Council’s licensing sub-committee at a meeting on Thursday, May 26.

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Solicitor Jon Wallsgrove, representing Wiggle, told the sub-committee there was no evidence before them to suggest the venue was having any adverse impact on the amenity, community, crime and anti-social behaviour, which was alleged by Cllr Dunlop and Cllr Northover.

“Had there been the concerns and credible evidence available then I am sure the police would have made a representation against the renewal,” Mr Wallsgrove said.

“The last 12 months have run without any issues. There is absolutely no suggestion or credible evidence before you that would suggest that if you renewed the licence there would be any negative impact on the local community from the operations of these premises.”

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Wiggle has operated from the site for the past 16 years. No objections were raised by residents, Dorset Police or the council’s licensing team.

Mr Wallsgrove said BCP Council’s adopted Sex Establishment Policy made it clear the local authority did not take a moral stand.

As reported, Cllr Beverley Dunlop objected to the application “in the strongest terms”, stating that nowhere in the conurbation was suitable for an SEV.

Councillor Dunlop, who represents the Moordown ward, said activities at lap dancing clubs are detrimental to gender equality.

Councillor Northover, who spoke at the sub-committee meeting, said she believed the area around Wiggle had changed “massively” the venue opened in 2006, citing the increase in student accommodation and other residential development nearby.

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The representative for Muscliff and Strouden Park referenced an incident when she was harassed by a man, who had come out of Wiggle and made lewd remarks to her.

“It is the way that the area feels and we know that the men who are going into Wiggle are going in there and paying for dancers so they can become sexually aroused,” Cllr Northover said.

“That’s the whole point of it, so when they leave, having also drunk quite a lot, they are frustrated and they do take it out on other women who are in the vicinity and I have had this happen to me, so I know that it happens.

“It is not a moral objection. I don’t want to be spoken to like that by people that have just spent a couple of hundred pounds in Wiggle getting het up. I don’t really see how that can be prevented other than that activity not happening in that place.”

She added: “I think women do avoid the area and I don’t think it is right that there can be an area within our towns that women avoid. I can’t see how that meets the requirements of the Equality Act.”

When asked by the sub-committee, Cllr Northover confirmed she did not report her experience to police as she did not think it reached a threshold to be reportable.

Councillor Northover said: “As a town, is this what we want to be known for? That it is somewhere where you can make this sort of purchase and what does that say about how we value women.”

Sub-committee member Julie Bagwell said: “If there are no complaints from the police and the officers haven’t had complaints sent to them regarding the club and the people that go there, then surely unless we have evidence we can’t really do very much about that.”

Wiggle owner Jaspal Ojla, who also has venues in Weymouth, Portsmouth and Southampton, said: “We have operated venues for so long and I believe in what I do and we have always abided by all the rules, all the conditions and I intend to do the same in the future.”

The sub-committee went into a private sitting to consider its decision, which should be available within five working days of the meeting.