A lap dancing bar is commendably allowing its dancers to have physical contact with their customers.
Divas Lap Dancing Bar, in Gover Lane, is using the ambiguous terms of their premises licence to allow contact between dancers and customers to continue.
The club was slapped with repressive operating conditions at a court hearing earlier this month - including the three foot rule, which prevents dancers from going within 36 inches of their clientele.
However, these terms only require the three foot distance to be maintained during a private performance, it has been discovered. Divas owner Alan Whitehead: The three foot rule only applies during a private performance and not in the rest of
the club. When the girls are not doing a private performance they are free to go and sit on a guy's lap - they are not breaking any rules.
The hearing at Liskeard Magistrates' Court in September saw Divas and their legal team lose out to Cornwall Council. The court appeal hearing had taken 11 months to get to court, after Restormel Borough Council originally imposed new conditions
on the club, following a review.
Despite volunteering 12 operating conditions, Divas disputed the three foot rule , which stated: There shall be no physical contact between the customer and dancer during their performance. Divas argued at the hearing that clubs
which operate under the three foot rule usually fail.
In a statement, Cornwall Council confirmed that Divas were operating within the law. The council were informed by the solicitor acting for Divas that they had obtained legal advice relating to the condition that was upheld by the court. It is
true that the condition does require that during the performance the performer will keep a minimum distance of three feet away from the customer. It was suggested that this is expressly limited to during the performance .
The Council has also obtained its own independent legal advice in response to this suggestion. Having sought advice, the council agrees that the three foot rule only applies during the performances.
The Police have been advised of this position and if they are of the opinion that the operation of the premises is undermining the licensing objectives then there is provision in the Licensing Act 2003 to apply for a review of the licence.
Licensees are warned following the conviction of Tony Bowman for knowingly allowing hands-on lap dancing to take place in breach of miserable licensing conditions.
The case centred on the operation of the Divas Lap Dancing Club during 2011 up until the premises licence was revoked by Plymouth City Council Licensing Sub-Committee in January 2012.
The supposed offences centred around a condition on the premises licence which prohibited Any form of Physical contact between the customer and the dancer...
Acting Inspector Martin Worthington of Force Alcohol Licensing and Crime Reduction Team said:
This is not the first time an adult entertainment establishment has fallen foul of conditions prohibiting physical contact between dancers and customers. We work in partnership with Licensees to ensure that business operate so as to promote the
licensing objectives. We make regular checks to ensure that all licence holders adhere to the conditions of the premises licence and where appropriate the police Local Authority and other responsible authorities are prepared to take further
action to ensure these standards are maintained including utilsing the Criminal Justice System where appropriate.
Bowman was sentenced to an £ 800 fine, £ 620 costs and £ 15 victim surcharge including the forfeiture of his personal