A ‘sleazy’ strip club and lap dancing bar could be destined for Manchester’s Northern Quarter if planning permission gets the go-ahead next week.
Plans for an all-night ‘gentleman’s club’, complete with striptease, lap and pole dancing and stage shows, are to be discussed at March 13’s Planning and Highways Committee meeting.
However a Manchester City Council report submitted by planning officers ahead of the meeting have recommended the venue is rejected amid fears they will ‘make the area feel seedier’.
But despite reservations from planners, Greater Manchester Police said the proposal is ‘generally acceptable’, subject to the advice given in their report, which included recommendations to make it safer.
The suggested location for the gentleman’s club is the corner of Oldham Street and Swan Street – only metres from Affleck’s Palace and the heart of the Northern Quarter.
The planning application being sought by AJSL Ventures Ltd said: “The proposed Change of Use and refurbishment works to the existing building, will significantly improve the appearance of the property, and therefore enable it to contribute positively to the street scene and the wider Conservation Area.”
If approved, the application claims it would see renovation of the existing building, which has fallen into a ‘state of disrepair’.
This is in line with the council’s policy of regenerating dilapidated buildings, which have led to the creation of a ‘strong local brand’.
The proposed operating hours are between 9pm and 6.30am – yet the council report claims this will ‘have a detrimental impact on the vitality and viability of the area’.
PROPOSALS: Building on edge of Swan Street and Oldham Street
Council planning officers suggest a number of reasons for quashing the plans, including: “the effect on promoting the location as a high quality area, the potential adverse effect on adjacent residents, the impact on perceptions and the image of the area to future potential investors, impact on perceptions about crime and disorder, the impact on street level activity particularly during the daytime and the proposal would not provide a useful local service.”
It is also noted that proposed site is to be close to the New Islington development where there are plans for a new school to be built.
The council also insist that the operator already has a lap-dancing club in Manchester (Baby Platinum), where there is a track record of crime and disorder incidents.
Greater Manchester Police’s report cites the increasing number of licenced premises are contributing to increasing crime levels.
“Unless very well managed, introducing further licensed premises into this area may lead to an increase in crime and a deterioration of the desirability of the Northern Quarter as a place to live or conduct business,” the report said.
However it goes on to read: “In this applications favour, the premises are modest in size, and this application is supported with a well considered operating schedule and a dispersal policy, which suggests that the developer is cognisant of the need to actively manage the premises in order to minimise the risk of crime and disorder.”
The recommendations that GMP make include an effectively managed main entrance to control numbers, inaccessible back-of-house areas, a chute deposit safe, a high and wide bar to increase space between staff and customers and internal layout to be uncluttered to aid circulation.
The City Centre Regeneration Group have stated that the development would be contrary to the council’s strategy for ‘ongoing regeneration’.
One Northern Quarter resident, who has lived in the area for the past five years but wished to remain anonymous, told MM: “This is the last thing that the area needs.
“Problems from the bars are one thing, but this would bring drunks from afar late at night to one place. Many might not get in and then be left to wander the streets around our homes, causing mayhem.
“The idea of a sleazy stripclub doesn’t fit in at all with what the Northern Quarter is about. I hope this doesn’t get the go-ahead!”
Twitter user Josh R (@technicalfault), who lives nearby on Ancoats and alerted MM to the planning application, said: “I am opposed to it because it won’t add to the regeneration of the area due to the type of business.”
Another Twitter user, Echo Britain (@EchoBritain), said: “I live in [the] NQ and [I’m] certainly no prude, but we have enough drunk idiots around there at weekends without a strip club clientèle!”
Candy is a resident on Victoria Street. She said: “Live and let live I say! I don’t mind at all. Good luck to them.”
Rodney Street resident Alison Ferguson said: “I have a young children and I sometimes walk that way into the city centre. I wouldn’t want them seeing it and asking me what it is.”
The owner of a Northern Quarter adult shop, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “With it leading on to Oldham Road it wouldn’t really be suitable in that building, especially with the houses nearby.
“The council are very strict on licenses. I don’t expect it will get permission. I think it’s too big of a building anyway.”
A staff member from a nearby newsagents who wished to remain anonymous said: “I don’t think it will really impact on business during the day so it won’t affect us too much. On this basis, I don’t see too much of a problem.”
Do you support the plans for the strip club? Let us know your thoughts below.
Image courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks.