Updated: Monday, 3rd August 2020 @ 2:43pm

Tits up! Northern Quarter strip club plans quashed by Manchester planning chiefs amid sex assault fears

Tits up! Northern Quarter strip club plans quashed by Manchester planning chiefs amid sex assault fears

| By Liam Geraghty

Plans for a Northern Quarter strip club have been rejected by Manchester planning chiefs amid fears of a rise in sexual offences in the area.

The Manchester City Council Planning and Highways Committee unanimously voted to uphold the recommendation that the application – which had been branded as ‘sleazy’ in a report – was to be refused in today’s meeting.

The all-night ‘gentleman’s club’ was planning to include striptease, lap and pole dancing and stage shows.

The proposed location was at the corner of Oldham Street and Swan Street – only metres from Affleck’s Palace and the heart of the Northern Quarter.

City centre Councillor Elaine Boyes, who spoke on behalf of the committee, cited the number of sexual assaults in the area as a main reason for the decision to turn down the application.

Cllr Boyes said: “We have spent many years building up the Northern Quarter area and the thought of many young men coming down to the city centre and loitering does not seem right to me.”

Boyes also cited another property Baby Platinum on nearby Princess Street that was owned by the applicants ABA Leisure and revealed that she had received 31 letters of objection from local constituents.

The residents had expressed concerns that ‘women may feel more vulnerable’ while the number of families living in the area were also seen as a key reason for refusing the application.

The planning committee had earlier stated that these concerns were especially prominent in the Northern Quarter where it would have an ‘adverse impact’.

However, despite reservations from planners, Greater Manchester Police had passed the application as ‘generally acceptable’, subject to the completion of conditions relating to safety given in the pre-meeting report.

In a statement to the committee, planning consultant Jonathan Vose, acting on behalf of ABA, revealed that the company had plans to close their Deansgate club Baby Blue to move to the proposed Northern Quarter site if the application was accepted.

ABA also suggested that the originally proposed opening hours of 9pm to 6.30am could be cut by up to two hours to 4.30am, despite no noise concerns indicated in the report.

The move would see the company shrink the capacity of their Manchester operations, which Mr Vose indicated was a necessary move in light of the ‘the strict guidelines in the licensing of sex-related establishments’.

Mr Vose also highlighted the benefits of regeneration to a building that has been vacant for nine years and has fallen into ‘a state of disrepair’.

The applicant argued that the application was consistent with the council’s policy of a ‘balanced evening/night-time economy’ and would add to the ‘variety, vitality and vibrancy’ of the area.

“We believe the application reflects the character and function of the Northern Quarter,” said Mr Vose.

This is in line with the council’s policy of regenerating dilapidated buildings, which have led to the creation of a ‘strong local brand’ in the Northern Quarter area of the city.

However, the council voted to reject the application.