Sheffield Cathedral joins lap dance venue protest

News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.
News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.

SHEFFIELD Cathedral has joined a protest against a proposed lap dancing venue in West Street in the city centre.

An objection has been lodged in response to an application to convert The Steelhouse bar and club at the corner of Holly Street, at back of Sheffield City Hall, into premises called Wildcats.

Already more than 60 residents of nearby apartments are urging the council to reject the scheme, saying they do not want it on their doorstep.

The authority is being told by representatives of Leeds-based Harjen Ltd that it would not be a private members’ club or a traditional nightclub with dance floors and loud music, but a bar with a stage for dancing girls doing a striptease show.

There would also be private booths form individual customers. Access would be restricted to people aged over 21.

The Cathedral’s protests comes from The Rev Canon Dr Joanne Grenfell, who is Dean of Women’s Ministry.

She says “strip clubs undermine women in society by presenting them, in an unequal way, as objects for sexual gratification”, and they “do not promote healthy committed relationships for men or women and indeed promote casual encounters”.

Already there are similar venues in Sheffield “and it is impossible to se why more should be needed.

Such a place might deter investment in other entertainment venues in West Street, “which would be detrimental to both the economy and to the community’s overall enjoyment of that area”.

One nearby resident is telling the council: “As a working woman, I will not feel comfortable, confident, secure and safe sharing my residential surroundings with a venue like this.”

Another, from the Royal Plaza apartments, says: “Sheffield centre is a nice historical area with the Cathedral and the City Hall - and a lap dancing club does not go with the intentional of preserving this area well.”

Many residents say they already suffer from late night noise and other disturbance, although one, from Westfield Terrace, writes: “I was born in Sheffield and have seen West Street become progressively more cosmopolitan and a safe place to go out. I feel that this development would take things backwards.”

The applicants say the premises would be subject to the Sexual Entertainment Venue Licensing Act, and that noise levels would be lower than those generated by a typical nightclub.

They maintain that the proposals are in line with local and national guidelines and “see no reason” why permission should not be granted.

Planning officers will prepare a report for a decision by councillors.