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Sex shops in Gravesend face price hike

alan butler
alan butler

Punters at sex shops in Gravesham face having to pay more for their edible panties and other erotic gear. They could also be presented with 'closing down sale signs' soon as bosses warn a big increase in licence fees could ruin their businesses.

Application fees for new licences have jumped from £1,500 to £2,510 and renewal costs have increased from £750 to £1,320.

Increases were approved at a Gravesham Borough Council licensing committee and come into force next Friday.

There are two licensed sex shops in the borough with Darker Enterprises in Queen Street and Pillow Talk in Parrock Street.

Council chiefs say the increases will ensure the ‘proper standards’ premises will be covered.

Alan Butler, 63, is the licence holder for Pillow Talk in Parrock Street but is fearful of his future following the hike.

He said: "To have raised the cost of licensing by 75 per cent is highly unfair on an industry which has struggling for the past year.

"We all have to make a living and this year we are fighting to just break even. In truth this increase could push us over the edge.

"We will have to pay the cost otherwise they will close us down but I will be writing to the finance committee about the increase.

A council spokesman said: "This will be the first increase in fees since we started to licence sex shops in 1982.

"The new fees have been carefully calculated with the aim of ensuring that our costs in processing applications and enforcing proper standards at these premises are covered."

A spokesman for Darker Enterprises, which trades under the name Private Shop at its premises, said: "We are surprised that the council did not consult us on these proposals."

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