25 April 2012
Last updated at 06:12 GMT
The York Place Baptist Church in Swansea, with Bellissima next door
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition opposing the licensing of a lap dancing and strip club next to a city centre church.
Thomas-Bellis Leisure Ltd wants to put on lap dancing, pole dancing and live sex shows at the Bellissima club in York Street, Swansea.
The minister of York Place Baptist Church called the plan “brazen”.
Swansea’s licensing committee will look at the plan later on Wednesday. The applicant has been asked to comment.
A report to be discussed by councillors says the Swansea-based applicant “proposes to use the premises for relevant entertainment which may include: lap dancing, pole dancing, table dancing, strip shows, peep shows, live sex shows.
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To have the effrontery to put it next door to my church – how much more brazen can you get?”
Rev Haydn Dennis
York Place Baptist Church
“The applicant intends to use the premises between 22:00 and 04:00 hrs Monday to Sunday”.
The petition opposed to the plans have already been submitted to Swansea council.
In a separate letter, the church’s minister, Rev Haydn Dennis, writes: “There are deep spiritual objections to this proposal and a concern for the welfare of the young people who will be involved in this type of establishment.”
He also highlighted in his letter the council’s policy which says “as a general rule,” a presumption will be made against licensing of a sex establishment if it is “near places of worship”.
He told BBC Wales: “To have the effrontery to put it next door to my church – how much more brazen can you get?”
Rev Dennis said there had been “tremendous support” from the public, and 1,026 people had signed his petition so far.
He added that the church had made it clear the plans were against the council’s own policy, adding: “How can they possibly pass it?”
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Whilst this type of ‘entertainment’ is wrong on so many levels including the denigration of women into mere objects, what I am most horrified about is the proposed location for this lap dancing club”
Objector’s letter to Swansea council
He said he notified the council weeks ago that he wished to speak at Wednesday’s meeting, but was told on Tuesday he had to make a formal application.
He said: “It gives me no time at all. The council told me on Tuesday I had to apply to them and the leisure company.
“What possible chance have I got? I applied in plenty of time. I’m not very happy.”
In addition, a letter from York Place Baptist Church treasurer, Stephen Jones, objects to the proposals “on the grounds that it is an ‘inappropriate’ use of space with the activity being considered to be a form of exploitation rather than an activity classed as usual entertainment for a premises such as this”.
It adds that the “location for this type of venture is also wholly inappropriate, not just because of its location next to the church, but because the venue would be located in close proximity to attractions used extensively by young people and families…”.
Another objection in the report to the council says: “Now Swansea City Football Club are in the Premier League, it seems that somehow this means we should encourage the buying and selling of sex as means to promote Swansea as a ‘premier city’.”
Another objector wrote: “Whilst this type of ‘entertainment’ is wrong on so many levels including the denigration of women into mere objects, what I am most horrified about is the proposed location for this lap dancing club.
“Opposite a ‘youth-themed’ burger bar, Eddie Rockets, within eyeshot of the Vue Cinema, on a thoroughfare that links Swansea Museum and the Waterfront Museum into town as well as a short stroll to the LC [leisure centre].
“These are all family venues….”
BBC Wales has asked the applicant to respond.R Soft Web Hosting