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Kent researcher investigates lap dancing clubs

A year-long study into the effects of lap-dancing clubs on communities is to be carried out by a professor at the University of Kent.

Proffessor Phil Hubbard of the University's School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, is teaming up with Dr Rachela Colosi of Lincoln University, to investigate people's perceptions of the clubs and how safe communities feel around them.

They have jointly been awarded £117, 839 by the Economic and Social Research Council to fund the project, which will help local authorities decide if there are any suitable premises for lap dancing clubs.

Professor Hubbard said: "Until last year it was really easy for a pub or a licensee to put on lap-dancing or a striptease in their premises

"But the Government's changed those rules, so that from now on lap-dancing is not like any other entertainment, it's now classed as sexual entertainment.

"It means local authorities can ban it if it's not appropriate in given localities.

"The trouble is no one is sure whether there are any suitable locations for them.

"So, this research is looking at not what is going on in the clubs but what effect they have on the communities around them.

Professor Hubbard adds there is lots of stereotyping around lap-dancing: "We tend to imagine there are lots of crimes around the lap-dancing clubs and that their clients are anti social in their behaviour. But we just don't know if that's the case that at all.

"Sometimes the type of premises which cause more problems to the community are actually pubs and clubs, where there tends to be more anti-social behaviour.

Proffessor Hubbard wants to hear from people who have been involved in campaigning against lap-dancing clubs or have anxieties about them in places such as Maidstone, Dover, Thanet and the Medway towns.

He explains: "We will be doing questionnaire surveys and taking people out at night near to the clubs to try to gauge how they feel around them."

The project will culminate in a workshop with licensing authorities, solicitors and members of lap-dancing associations - looking at whether such clubs have a place in the community, or if there needs to be more controls.


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