BY MARY WANG
CHRISTIANS in Cheshire are overjoyed at the announcement that Repent nightclub in Macclesfield has been refused a licence to become a lap dancing bar.
Local residents, businesses and church members were brought together by Dr Louise Brown, policy consultant for Christian Legal Centre, and Rhona Marshall, a local Christian resident.
A hearing took place at Macclesfield Town Hall for an application for a Premises Licence Variation to “Lap Dancing – Full Strip” while, protesters gathered in silent protest outside.
During the meeting Lola Kenzie, Repent spokeswoman, told the licensing committee that the nightclub would keep to the police’s strict conditions. But the committee refused to grant a licence as the application did not meet four requirements under the 2003 Licensing Act. Permission was refused on the grounds of Prevention of Crime and Disorder, Public Safety, Prevention of Public Nuisance and the Protection of Children from Harm.
Margaret Charlton, a mother-of-four who organised the silent protest, said she was “absolutely delighted” at the outcome, saying: “against the odds we got a good result”. Margaret said that although around 30 people attended the silent protest, there were many more who were unable to take part due to work or college commitments. Hundreds of local people objected to the application, including some councillors.
Mrs Charlton said: “We love our town and we want it to be a better place. We don’t want sex entertainment in the heart of our town.” Asked if they would oppose any future applications for a lap dancing bar, she said: “Certainly yes, it’s mobilised the community”.
Dr Brown told Inspire magazine: “We are thrilled councillors have listened to the views of local people in this matter and refused the application which would have turned Mill Street into a seedy place where women would be demeaned and Macclesfield would have developed a reputation of a place where women are degraded.
“The councillors are to be congratulated for standing up for the good interests of the majority of the town.” Andrea MinichielloWilliams of the Christian Legal Centre said: “What this case shows is that when Christians work together with other members of the community and put together coherent arguments, it is possible to stop this sort of development using existing law. The councillors of Cheshire East are to be congratulated.”