19 OCTOBER 2015

Is the final decision on the recommendations in this report to be made at this meeting?




ME14 1SY


Final Decision-Maker

Licensing Committee

Head of Service

John Littlemore

Report Author

Lorraine Neale



Wards affected

High Street



This report makes the following recommendations to the final decision-maker:

That the Committee approves the application made by Emma Louise Sexton on 16 April 2015 to renew the Sexual Entertainment Licence for Players with the existing conditions remaining attached.



This report relates to the following corporate priorities:

·         Keeping Maidstone an attractive place for all

·         Securing a successful economy for Maidstone Borough






Policy and Resources Committee




Other Committee







1.1      To consider and determine the application made on 16 April 2015 by Emma Louise Sexton for the renewal of a Sex Establishment Licence for a Sexual Entertainment Venue which has been made under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, Schedule 3 as amended by the Policing and Crime Act 2009



2.                        INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND



2.1       On 2 March 2011 the Council  resolved to adopt the Local Government      (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, as amended by section 27 of the           Policing and Crime Act 2009; therefore, subject to limited exceptions and             exemptions, or in the absence of a waiver, premises offering relevant          entertainment require a Sexual Entertainment Venue (SEV) licence to      operate in Maidstone. The new powers took effect locally from the 1 May          2011.


2.2         Where a licence is granted any standard conditions adopted by the Council will automatically be imposed unless expressly excluded or varied. The Council has adopted standard conditions and a policy to facilitate consideration of applications and guidance is provided to the Committee in subsequent paragraphs of this report.


2.3         An application for a SEV in respect of Players premises was made on 28 October 2011 and Committee resolved at a meeting on 5 March 2012 to grant Players a SEV licence. The SEV licence has been in place at the premises since then and is renewed annually. Previous renewal applications have resulted in the following:-


In 2013, 107 objections were received in relation to the renewal application, Members considered all the relevant factors at the hearing and made the decision to grant the licence.


In 2014 no representations were received and the licence was granted without the requirement of a hearing.


2.4      Players has provided adult entertainment since the grant of their

            Licensing Act 2003 premises licence issued on 30 July 2007 (Appendix

            D). Players made their initial application for their sexual entertainment venue

            licence on 28 October 2011 and at the Licensing Committee meeting on 5            March 2012 their sexual entertainment venue licence was granted with            variations to conditions 2, 4,14,20 and 37, and additional Security and CCTV           conditions were attached, this licence came into operation on 1 May 2012.


2.5       An application was received from Emma Sexton for the transfer of the Players licence from Mr James Pemble to herself which was dealt with at Licensing Committee on the 11 June 2015 when the transfer was granted. This report deals with the renewal application received on 16 April 2015 from Emma Louise Sexton for a Sexual Entertainment Venue licence  in respect of Players, 57 High Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1SY and a copy is attached as Appendix A.


2.6       This application has been made in accordance with the amendments to

            the 1982 Act, as amended by the Policing and Crime Act 2009 and             Wales, as an existing operator currently carrying out ‘Relevant

            Entertainment’ as defined by the amendments to the Act and as detailed at          5.6 and 5.7 pages 6 and 7 of the Council’s ‘Sex Establishments Policy.


2.7       The application is for the provision of sexual entertainment during the       following hours Monday to Sunday 20:30 – 02:00 and New Years Eve            20:30 – 03:00.


2.8       The applicant is required to serve a copy of their application on the             Chief Officer of Police and to give notice to other interested parties by way of a         notice on site for 21 days and in the local paper once within 7 days of           application. These requirements have been satisfied for this application. A            copy of the site notice and newspaper advert as it appeared in the Kent on             Sunday is attached as Appendix B. Any objections were required to be      made to the Council by 15 May 2015.


2.9       No observations have been received in response to the notices of application      from the Police.

2.10    There has been 1 objection by e-mail received by 15 May 2015 in summary their objections are:-

-The area is inappropriate, having regard to the character of the relevant - locality

- The existence of the premises encourages sexism and contributes to                     sexual harassment towards women

- Refusals have been made for other similar establishments by other local authorities in their areas

- Set a nil number for such establishments in Maidstone.


Members should note that licences cannot be refused on solely moral grounds i.e. sex establishments are immoral and none should be allowed. They need to confine their considerations to matters relevant to the statutory grounds, (see 12.3 of the Council’s policy).

A copy of the objection providing full details of the comments are attached as Appendix C. Names and addresses have been redacted as the objector has not consented to their details being revealed.


2.11    The definition of a Sexual Entertainment Venue is any premises at which            relevant entertainment is provided before a live audience for the financial    gain of the organiser or the entertainer.

2.12    There are a number of mandatory grounds for refusal of an SEV                            licence which are:-

(a) to any person under the age of 18 years

(b) to any person who is for the time being disqualified due to having had a previous licence revoked in the area of the appropriate authority within the last 12 months

(c) to any person, other than a body corporate, who is not resident in an EEA state or was not so resident throughout the period of six months immediately preceding the date when the application was made; or

(d) to a body corporate which is not incorporated in an EEA state; or

(e) to any person who has, within a period of 12 months immediately preceding the date when the application was made, been refused that grant or renewal of a licence for the premises, vehicle, vessel or stall in respect of which the application is made, unless the refusal has been reversed on appeal.

2.13    There are also discretionary grounds for refusal of an SEV licence.

(a) the applicant is unsuitable to hold the licence by reason of having been convicted of an offence or for any other reason

(b) if the licence were to be granted, renewed or transferred, the business to which it relates would be managed by or carried on for the benefit of a person, other than the applicant, who would be refused the grant, renewal or transfer of such a licence if he made the application himself

(c) the number of sexual entertainment venues, in the relevant locality at the time which the authority consider is appropriate for the locality

(d) the grant or renewal of the licence would be inappropriate, having regard:

(i)   to the character of the relevant locality; or

(ii)  to the use to which any premises in the vicinity are put; or

(iii) to the lay out, character or condition of the premises, vehicle,               vessel or stall in respect of which the application is made.


2.14    In considering this application the Committee should have regard to:


            • The Council’s Sex Establishments Policy (Appendix F)

            • Schedule 3 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, as               amended by Policing and Crime Act 2009.       

            • Home Office – Sexual Entertainment Licence – Guidance for England                              and Wales,



2.15    Additionally Section1 and Schedule 1 Parts I & II of The Human Rights Act          1998 will apply to this application:


Article 1 – Every person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his or her possessions including the possession of a licence and shall not be deprived of the possession except in the public interest


Article 6 – That in the determination of civil rights and obligations everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.


Article 10


1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall

include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart

information and ideas without interference by public authority and

regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from

requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema



2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and

responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions,

restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are

necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national

security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of

disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the

protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the

disclosure of information received in confidence, or for

maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.


                 See item 7, page 7 of the Council’s ‘Sex Establishments Policy.


2.16         The provision of Services Regulations 2009 imposes three tests on any                            refusal of a licence under the Act, they must be:-


·         Non discriminatory

·         Necessary

·         Proportionate                       


2.17         Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 imposes a duty on                                       Licensing Authorities to have due regard to the likely effect of the                                       exercise of their functions on and the need to do all they reasonably                                can to prevent Crime and Disorder.


2.18         The Equality Act 2010, Section 149 requires public authorities in the          exercise of their functions to have due regard to the need to eliminate      discrimination, harassment and victimisation, to advance equality of      opportunity between the sexes and foster good relations between them.                   Consideration of this may inform Conditions.  This duty also covers            religious         belief and disability.



2.19         Players SEV licence was issued on 16 May 2014 and expired on 15 May   2015. Applications were received for the transfer and renewal of the licence     on 16 April 2015, the transfer application went to Licensing Committee on11          June 2015 where it was agreed that the licence be transferred to Emma                        Sexton. The licence is now due for renewal and the premises can continue             to trade while these matters are determined, as the matter of the transfer has been determined then the application for renewal (Appendix A) can now be addressed and is the subject of this report.


The premise has been operated with no issues or complaints being reported to the Licensing Department or Community Safety Unit. The last enforcement visit made to the premises by Licensing Officers was on 27th February 2015, no problems were identified.


2.20    Renewal of a licence is an occasion on which the licensing authority can revisit the principle of the licence, the legislation does not differentiate between discretion to refuse to grant and to refuse to renew a licence. Case law has confirmed that a licensing authority is entitled to refuse to renew a licence for a sex establishment on grounds under paragraph 12 (3) (d) of schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous provisions) Act 1982 ,( grant or renewal would be inappropriate having regard to the character of the relevant locality or the use to which any premises in the vicinity are put etc.), despite there not having been any change of circumstances since the last grant, provided that due weight is given to the fact that the licence has been previously granted and gave rational reasons for the refusal. If, however, the decision purports to rely on a change of character of the relevant locality, if there was in fact no evidence of such a change sufficient to justify the refusal to renew the licence an appeal could be allowed.


An authority can take into account changing considerations so as to refuse a licence even where the licensee has done nothing wrong.


2.21      Section 12.1 of the Sex Establishments Policy details the Mandatory Grounds     for refusing an application, none of these grounds apply to this application.


                 Section 12.2 details discretionary grounds where a licence may be                                          refused.


            (a) suitability of applicant (paragraph 12.4 a) policy) –


The applicant of the premises is Emma Sexton who has been the Licensing Act 2003 DPS since 7th May 2015. Nothing is revealed or has arisen which suggests this ground of refusal would be justified currently.


            (b)Business carried out on behalf of a person who would be refused


            (paragraph 12.4 b) Policy). No information indicates that this ground of      refusal would be justified currently


            (c) That the number of sex establishments, or of sex establishments of a   particular kind, in the relevant locality at the time of determination is equal to          or exceeds the number which the authority considers is appropriate for the     locality. 


The Council has currently resolved not to set a limit but to consider each application on its own merit. When considering the application for Players Members may wish at this time to consider the relevant locality and how many Sex Establishments are suitable for this relevant locality.



2.22  What is the Relevant Locality?

This is relevant to Paragraphs 12(3) (c) and (d) (i) of Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 and Paragraphs 12.5 to 12.10 policy refer.


The building is located in Lower High Street, an area with mixed uses. Members should consider the locality at the time of this decision and consider the locality at the time when it is proposed the premises will be operating as an SEV. Parties at the hearing will be able to make submissions on this issue.

Locality may be a large area, probably larger than vicinity, but the locality is a matter for members and will depend on the circumstances of the case. It has been held that locality cannot be the entire administrative area and further that locality is likely to be a homogenous area. Case law has held that a whole town may be too large. There does not have to be a clearly predefined area or precise boundaries.


2.23    What is the Character of the Relevant Locality?

Paragraph 12(3)(d)(i) of Schedule 3 to the Local Government (Miscellaneous provisions) Act 1982 and paragraph 12.10 policy.


The area is in the Maidstone Town Centre conservation area, there are some listed building in the vicinity including 57 High Street for further details see the plan attached at Appendix I


There are no residences located immediately adjacent to the premises, but there are residential premises in the area. In general there are there are 23 residents and 21 residential properties in the High Street, and 15 residents in 16 residences in Mill Street, not all the residences are occupied currently as they are recent conversions, The nearest residences being 55a High Street which is not currently occupied and Flats 1-5 River Court, 53a High Street currently showing 3 residents, these residences are on the Players side of the High Street also 37 High Street which is almost opposite Players. There are other licensed premises, (Licensing Act 2003), in the lower end of the High Street  and nearby that also form part of the night time economy, they are:-


Name of premises



Opening Hours

Buddha Belly

22 – 23 High Street

Mon to Sun – 09:00 – 03:00

Kullar News

30 High Street

Mon – Sun 00:00 – 24:00

Pizza Chicken Hot 4 You

31 High Street

Mon – Sat 11.00 – 04.00 

Sunday 11.00 – 23.00

Fortify Cafe

32 High Street

Mon to Sun 08:00 – 00:00


Dinos Pizza

34 High Street

Fri & Sat 11:30 – 05:00

Sun – Thurs 23:00 – 00:00

Wok Inn

38 High Street

Mon to Sun 11:00 – 05:00


Maidstone Grill

54 High Street

Mon – Sun 00:00 – 24:00

Gem of Kent/Rafters

62 High Street

Sun – Wed 08:00 – 00:00

Thurs – Sat 08:00 – 04:00

Buenos Aires

63 High Street

Mon – Sat 12:00-16:00 and 18:00 -00:00

Sun 12:00 – 23:00
























There are shops/businesses that operate during the day immediately around the premises. High Street is a retail thoroughfare and a pedestrian street, see policy paragraph 12.13


There are bus stops located in Lower High Street however the premises would not operate until 19:00 hours, which would be after schools finish and normal commuting times.


At 34A High Street, there is a youth café called switch which is used by young people and any local organisations involved with them. Its hours of operation are Tuesday –Friday 15:30 – 17:30 and Saturday 15:00 – 18:00, they are not open during the operational hours for Players. However, at night the premises are used as a base by Maidstone’s street pastors.


There is an established space approximately 200 – 250 metres from Players called Jubilee Square which is used for civic and community events and is used by the public as a meeting and resting place also during the summer months there are children’s funfair rides often positioned there. Jubilee Square and the High Street was Phase I of Maidstone Borough Council regeneration scheme and was completed in May 2012. In October 2013 Phase II was completed this saw the lower end of the High Street being regenerated its intention to encourage public use into that area. There have not been any events put on in this part of the High Street either before or since Phase II of the regeneration.


At the hearing on 9 May 2013 it was decided that 1 Sexual Entertainment venue would be suitable for the relevant locality and the relevant locality in respect of these premises was established as being the High Street area between Mill Street and the Bridge area BishopsWay/Fairmeadow.


In 2014 when the application was made for renewal there were no objections received even though the regeneration works had completed at that time, the licence was granted without the requirement of a hearing.


Parties at the hearing will be able to make submissions on the character of the locality and their reasons at the hearing based on the current application.


            (d) That the grant of the licence would be inappropriate, having

            regard –


            i. to the character of the relevant locality


             (paragraph 12.10 Policy)


The Notices displayed at the premises as part of the application process attracted one complaint from a member of the public. The Police offered no observations on receipt of their copy of the application form. The Players windows are blacked out with only the name of the premises and the operating hours advertised on them, the only other advertising is a billboard just outside the door during the hours of operation, which is controlled by standard conditions 13-15, rather than refusal of the licence. See further information above.


; or


            ii. to the use to which any premises in the vicinity are put;


            (paragraph 12.11 Policy)


            Paragraph 12(3)(d)(ii) of schedule 3 to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions)Act 1982 and paragraph 12.11 policy.


Vicinity is likely to be a narrower area than “relevant locality” and parties will be able to make representations on this issue.

Paragraph 2.23 describes the character of the locality and here we concentrate on the uses of premises which may be relevant to members’ consideration if they are considered to be in the vicinity of the premises.


The nearest residential properties are at Flats 1-5 River Court, 53a High Street, there are other Licensing Act 2003 premises nearby that attract a significant number of customers.


The nearest churches are Maidstone Baptist Church at the corner of          Knightrider Street and Mill Lane and All Saints Church which is directly         opposite on College Road (0.5 mile). There is also the United Reform in Week Street (0.3 mile) and the Life Church and Methodist Church in Brewer Street (0.3 mile).


The nearest schools are Maidstone Boys Grammar School at Barton Road (0.8mile) Invicta Girls Grammar School and Valley Park School are at Huntsman Lane (0.9 mile) Maidstone Girls Grammar School and Maplesden Noakes at Buckland Road (0.9 mile).


The nearest public recreation spaces are the Archbishop’s Palace Gardens, amphitheatre by the riverside and Brenchley Gardens.


Bus stops are situated on High Street not far from the premises.


The premises are within the Maidstone conservation area and the nearest historic buildings are Archbishops Palace, All Saints Church, Carriage Museum and the Town Hall. Some of the buildings in High Street are also listed see the plan attached at Appendix I


            The premises in the area mainly reflect two types of economy namely the retail outlets during the day and those establishments relevant to the night time economy. High Street is a mix of these.



            iii. to the layout, character or condition of the premises in

                 respect of which the application is made.


                 (paragraph 12.12 Policy)


                        The premises is on two levels with one main door that leads directly into the High Street with minimal signage on the street which is subject to any planning requirements and the approval of the licensing department.

            The applicant has requested that lap and pole dancing carries on               between the hours of 20:30 – 02:00 Monday to Sunday and 20:30 –               03:00 on New Year’s Eve. Included as part of the application are the               Customers and Dancers House rules, a welfare of dancers document                   and their training procedures, these things combined show the                               suitability of the managements systems with regard to these premises.           Officers have made visits to the premises as routine and always found the       premises to be compliant. To date there have been no complaints               made in respect of these premises from the public or observations              from the Police.


2.24         The Committee must have regard to the Councils Sex Establishments Policy (attached as appendix F) and in doing the so the overriding principle is that each application will be determined on its own merit. A licence granted would last for one year and is subject to renewal annually.      


2.25                The Council has approved a set of Standard Conditions which they can    apply to or impose on any licence that may be granted, unless, the application            has requested that one or more of the Standard Conditions are to be     removed if this appears to the Members to be necessary and          proportionate in this particular case. At the meeting on 22, March 2012 licensing Committee amended the standard conditions set out below and added the additional conditions as set out in the standard conditions for Security and CCTV:-


2. The name of the person responsible for the management of the sex establishment being either the Licensee or a manager approved by the Council, shall be displayed within the sex establishment throughout the period during which he is responsible for its conduct.


            4. A notice showing the name of the person responsible for the       management of the sex entertainment venue on that day to be displayed         within the sex establishment throughout the period during which he is responsible for its conduct.


14. The licence holder shall not display outside the premises, or on any advertising material, photographs or other images that indicate and suggest striptease or similar dancing takes place on the premises and which may be offensive. Any promotional advertising in respect of the premises must have prior approval of the licensing Authority before its display/distribution.


20. All temporary dance booths or cubicles are covered by CCTV which will be monitored throughout all performances by an SIA registered member of staff.


37. During any lap dancing performance, or private dance, performers may not:

·                     Touch any customers with their fingers.

·                     Perform within 6” from any part of a patron save that they are                                   are allowed to sit on the lap of a customer provided they sit with              their backs to the customer.

·                     Climb onto furniture provided for patrons.

·                     Simulate sex acts.

·                     Use sex articles.





Condition b

Door supervisors, registered in accordance with the Security Industry Authority (SIA) shall be on duty at all times when relevant entertainment is taking place.


Condition d


CCTV to be installed to a standard agreed by Police to cover all public areas, including all access and egress points in accordance with CCTV Code of Practice. Maintained and serviced on a regular basis and records to be kept. The system to have an incorporated recording facility and recordings to be stored for one calendar month. The CCTV system to be fully operational throughout the hours that the premises are open for licensable activity. Access of the recordings to be made available at any reasonable time to Police and Local Authority officers upon request. Staff will be fully trained in the CCTV system and there will be at least one member of staff on duty during trading hours who is able to provide a recording of any incident in a format that can be taken away to be viewed.


The premises have operated to date with these amended and additional conditions with no complaints


This is a matter for the Committee to consider in their determination. The Standard Conditions as part of the Councils policy are attached as appendix G.


2.26    Under Paragraph 8 of Schedule 3 of the Act the Council may grant a

            Sex Establishment Licence on such terms and conditions and subject

            to any restrictions as may be specified and that these specific terms

and conditions will be tailored for each individual premises.


2.27    Policy- Locality and Numbers.

                        An authority may publish a policy but that cannot prevent any individual application from being considered on its merits at the time of the decision, when submissions can be made by all parties. Thus a policy predetermining localities and numbers would have to be reviewed on each application, in any event, and the circumstances of any area may change over time.

            At the meeting on the 5 March 2013, when Players first made application for a Sexual Entertainment Venue Licence (SEV) the  Licensing Committee decided at that time that the appropriate number of such establishments in the locality of the Lower High Street between Mill Street and the bridge area (Bishops Way/Fairmeadow) was one.

            The Committee should now revisit their decision and make a decision at this time. Determination will be made on individual merit of the application, at the time the application is decided



2.28    Appeals.

            A statutory right of appeal against any decision to refuse in this case, or to impose conditions, is given to the applicant, in respect of mandatory grounds of refusal only on the basis that the ground does not apply to the applicant and in respect of discretionary grounds in paragraph 12 (3) (a) and (b), (suitability of applicant, manager and beneficiary of the operation). This is to the Magistrates’ Court, by way of complaint for an order, within 21days beginning with the date the decision is notified. There is no right for other parties to appeal in this way but they can apply to the Court to be heard at any appeal. In respect refusal for grounds under paragraph 12 (3) (c) and (d) (i) – (iii) these rights do not apply. Any other appeal would be by way of judicial review.


2.29    When Decision is Effective.

            If there should be a refusal to renew on grounds under schedule 3 paragraphs 12 (3) (c) or (d) the decision takes immediate effect and the licence lapses with the decision. If there is a refusal on other grounds then the decision is not effective until the time for appeal expires and if an appeal is brought until that is abandoned or determined.







The Committee may:


  1. Grant the application as applied for with the previously agreed standard, varied and additional Conditions, or


  1. Grant the application as applied for with Standard Conditions, with or without variations and additions as for 1. above and/or additional conditions, or


  1. Grant the application on varied terms, with or without additional             conditions.


  1. Refuse the application on one or more of the statutory grounds.






4.1                     The existing licence conditions have enabled the premises to operate without incident or cause for concern and the recommendation is that the licence is renewed with the existing conditions attached.   






5.1 One objection was received during the statutory consultation period and is attached as Appendix C.










Impact on Corporate Priorities


[Head of Service or Manager]

Risk Management


[Head of Service or Manager]



[Section 151 Officer & Finance Team]



[Head of Service]


Contained within the body of the report

Head of Legal

Equality Impact Needs Assessment


[Policy & Information Manager]

Environmental/Sustainable Development


[Head of Service or Manager]

Community Safety

Contained within the body of the report

Head of Housing & Community Services

Human Rights Act

Contained within the body of the report

[Head of Service or Manager]



[Head of Service & Section 151 Officer]

Asset Management


[Head of Service & Manager]




The following documents are to be published with this report and form part of the report:

Appendix A  Application form including company policy

Appendix B  Applicants site notice and newspaper notice     

            Appendix C  representations from objectors.

            Appendix D  Copy of Premises Licence

            Appendix E  SEV licence now expired

      Appendix F  Maidstone Borough Council sex establishments policy.

            Appendix G Policy SEV Conditions

           Appendix H  Hearing Procedure

            Appendix I Plan of area, listed buildings and conservation area.






8.1       Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 as amended by the         Policing and Crime Act 2009.




8.2       Home Office – Sexual Entertainment Licence – Guidance for                                   England  and Wales.

      http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100413151441/http:/crimereducti      on.homeoffice.gov.uk/crimereduction057a.pdf