Published: 10:32, 01 May 2013
Club and pub owners the Stone family may soon have a monopoly on strip clubs in Rochester by grabbing the second of two available licences.
Only two “sexual entertainment” venues are allowed in the high street by Medway Council.
Charlotte’s Bar ran strip shows from its basement for seven years but has now stepped aside allowing the Stones, who own one licence, to bid for the other.
Charlotte’s owner Luke Tumana, 43, said: “Many of us traders call Rochester High Street Stone Street.
“We didn’t want to get in a position where I was competing with him because I wouldn’t be able to. It would be like a Mini and a Formula 1 car.”
The Stone family own many bars and pubs in Rochester through a network of firms, including one called Lovellrise Ltd.
Fronted by Joseph Stone, a relative of Casino Rooms owner Aaron, it has put in the new strip club application for a bric-a-brac shop, The Indoor Market, just yards from Charlotte’s.
If approved the venue will have permission to host lap-dancing, pole dancing, table dancing and stripping.
It will be called Tenshi, the same as the first club at the Casino Rooms. But that first club has still not opened 15 months after it was approved.
Mr Tumana said: “I bet a chunk of cash it never opens as a strip club. If they get the licence it means no-one else will be able to open one.”
Aaron Stone claimed: “There’s no master plan. There’s no world domination. I think it’s fair to say in this day and age if you’ve got properties you need as many options as possible.”
Mr Stone, who was caught in a controversy over a ‘Cleavage Weekender’ at the Casino Rooms in April, said the first Tenshi went over its £150,000 budget but was finally due to open soon.
Large signs have gone up outside.
“We’re very close to opening,” he said. “We still have a few bits to tweak.”
Meanwhile stripping is already history at Charlotte’s Bar. Mr Tumana said: “We’ve spent thousands doing up the inside of the venue and changed the downstairs so there’s no trace it was a strip club.”
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