A lap dancing club has lost its licence after residents complained it made the high street a ‘no-go area’.
Objectors have called the decision to refuse a licence renewal by the gentlemen’s club and champagne bar ST Lounge, a ‘victory for local democracy’.
Cheshire East Council had received 390 objection letters and a petition with 930 signatures.
The licence application for lap dancing, full nudity, pole dancing and strip shows was refused at a meeting of CEC’s general licensing committee.
It had originally been granted last year.
Objectors told the committee that women and children were scared to walk down Grove Street near the venue.
One objector said she saw ‘girls in bras and pants’ in the doorway.
Others called the place ‘seedy’ and ‘sickening’ and said the location was inappropriate because it was too close to schools, churches, shops and houses.
Marion Amir-Hekmat, from campaign group Make Wilmslow Matter, told councillors people had been avoiding the high street and denied that she has a moral objection.
Speaking afterwards, she said: “This is brilliant news and proves what can be achieved when the community works together.
“Special thanks go to families, businesses, schools, churches and councillors who helped the campaign.”
Speaking afterwards, Coun Wesley Fitzgerald said: “The refusal is a small but significant victory for democracy.
“The change in licensing law enabled local people to resist licensing sexual entertainment in an inappropriate locality.
“Democracy is alive and well in Wilmslow.’’
Richard Williams, from LR Law, who spoke during the seven-hour hearing on behalf of the campaign group, said granting a licence would ignore the council’s policy on sexual entertainment venues. He said although the licence was granted in 2012, the club was too close to local churches and schools.
He said: “The refusal is a victory for common sense. Looking at the council’s policy, you could not pick a worse location for a lap dancing club.”
There were no police representations.
Anthony Horne, speaking on behalf of applicant Van Leisure, said only a ‘vocal minority’ were objecting, that flyers were not handed out in Wilmslow and they did not promote binge drinking.
He told the committee: “It doesn’t matter how many objections there are, it’s what they are saying. They have tried to undermine the credibility of the operators, everything that can be thrown at my clients has been thrown at them and they’re hoping some of it will stick.”
Director Paul Knowles said girls are always offered a chaperone to get home.
He said: “The police investigation said we did everything we could. We’re not criminals, but here to run a legal and legitimate business.”
The firm declined to comment on the decision.
A CEC spokesman said: “The effect of the decision to refuse to renew the Sexual Entertainment Venue licence is that they must stop all relevant entertainment, permitted by the licence with immediate effect.
“ST lounge can still open as a bar since it holds a premises licence, which is issued under the Licensing Act 2003.”