Archive for the ‘Sex Shops’ Category

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arms of the british governmentjpg logo The UK Government has decided to reverse its homophobic ban on poppers.Ministers had previously announced the alkyl nitrites would be outlawed next month under their far-reaching Psychoactive Substances Act.

Now after robust criticism from Tory Crispin Blunt and Labour Andy Burnham the Home Office have announced that poppers will be excluded from the ban. In a silly attempt at saving face the said that it was advised that poppers do not directly stimulate or depress the central nervous system . which means they are not technically a psychoactive drug.

Crime Creation Minister Karen Bradley accepted the advice and passed it on to police to ensure people are not criminalised.

Before the government U-turn sex shops were due to face up to seven years’ jail for selling them when the Psychoactive Substances Act takes force next month.

Crispin Blunt had told the Commons :

There are some times when something is proposed which becomes personal to you and you realise the government is about to do something fantastically stupid.

Theresa May has been criticised over the Act, which also bans laughing gas (right). And I think in those circumstances one has a duty to speak up.

I use poppers, I out myself as a popper user, and would be directly affected by this legislation. I’m astonished then to find that it’s proposing to be banned and frankly so would many other gay men. And if I follow my own mindset reaction to this it simply serves to bring the whole law into disrepute.

In a letter to Home Secretary Theresa May, Andy Burnham said poppers have beneficial health and relationship effects and were an important issue for the gay community.

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Uk Supreme Court Licensing authorities will be able to continue charging for the cost of enforcement but may have to change how they do it, following a ruling by the Supreme Court.The case, involving Westminster City Council and sex shop owner Timothy Hemming, had threatened to prevent councils charging anything more than the cost of processing a licensing application. This prevented the council from charging legal shops to pay for the cost of closing unlicensed premises that are nothing to do with the fee paying shops.

In May 2013 the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Hemming who had successfully argued that charging for the cost of enforcement was inconsistent with European law.

However, Westminster appealed and a Supreme Court ruling handed down this morning overturned this decision. The judgment said:

There is no reason why [a licensing fee] should not be set at a level enabling the authority to recover from licensed operators the full cost of running and enforcing the licensing scheme, including the costs of enforcement and proceedings against those operating sex establishments without licences.

The court said its decision followed interventions from interested parties including the Treasury, the Local Government Association and the Law Society.

Hemming had also argued that it was not legitimate for Westminster to charge the full cost of licence on application, which was £29,435 in 2011-12, even though the bulk of this fee, £26,435, was refundable if the application was unsuccessful. The Supreme Court did not rule on this point but has referred the matter to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. It is not likely to rule for at least a year.

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belfast council logo Belfast City Councilis set to reject two applications for sex shops in the city centre.A businessman who once took his fight for a sex shop licence to the House of Lords had submitted a fresh application for Miss Behavin’ on Gresham Street. A second application for a shop called Misstique in the same area has also been submitted.

However, Belfast City Council seems likely to reject both applications. A meeting of the council’s morality committee came up with the lame excuse that Gresham Street is supposedly to be regenerated under the Future Belfast plans.

There are a number of unlicensed sex shops currently operating in the Gresham Street area, however committee members were told last week that two on Smithfield Square North have closed recently following council enforcement action.

The final decision will be taken at a meeting of the full council next Monday.

SDLP councillor Pat McCarthy said he believed the committee would be open to hearing an application for such a shop in a different location, one outside the main city centre.

There has only been one sex shop granted a licence in Northern Ireland, in an industrial estate in Mallusk. Newtownabbey Borough Council allowed that licence in 2006.

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isis cami Leading lingerie brand Ann Summershas been forced to deny supporting terrorism after launching a brand of lingerie that shares its name with theIslamic terrorist group known as ISIS.A spokesperson for Ann Summers said that the name of the Isis collection had been chosen far in advance of it now appearing in its store windows:

In this instance, the inspiration behind this range name was taken from the Ancient Egyptian goddess Isis. We acknowledge the unfortunate timing of this product launch in our store windows, however we in no way support or condone any act of terrorism or violence. We apologise for any offence caused.

A source told the Independent that it was too late to change the name. We thought up the name over six months ago.

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bolton councilBolton Council havea approved a new policy effectively banning new table dancing clubs and sex shops.Under the guidelines pole dancing clubs, strip shows and sex cinemas will not be allowed to open near schools, houses, parks, tourist attractions, religious buildings or any existing entertainment venues.

Cllr Nick Peel, the member in charge of licensing, said in reality it means new applicants looking to open a sexual entertainment venue in Bolton will find it very difficult. He said:

The criteria doesn’t really leave much left in terms of areas.

We have not been overrun with sex applications — it just doesn’t happen — but the government said we had to have a policy.

Existing establishments will probably be okay with the new rules, as this is not retrospective and they will continue to apply for the licences every year in the usual way.

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Uk Supreme CourtWestminster Council has received permission from the UK Supreme Court to challenge the Court of Appeal decision requiring the council to pay large sums in compensation for overcharging sex shops for licences.European law requires that council licence fees should reflect the costs of administration rather than be used as a tax to raise revenue.

Westminster City Council had charged enormous licence fees way beyond the cost of admin saying that it wanted to use revenues raised to take enforcement action against unlicensed businesses.

The council lost the case and were ordered to pay costs and pay back the overcharge. The council accepted it was wrong to charge the amount it did but refused to accept the costs and restitution charged to it, and took the case to the Court of Appeal the following year. However in May 2013 Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson, Lady Justice Black and Lord Justice Beatson upheld the High Court judgment.

And it is this decision that Westminster Council will challenge in the Supreme Court. Westminster Council will argue its case against: Tim Hemming (t/a Simply Pleasure Ltd), James Poulton, Harmony Ltd, Gatisle Ltd t/a Janus, Winart Publications Ltd, Darker Enterprises Ltd, and Swish Publications Ltd.

No date has yet been listed for the case.

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belfast council logoBack in January local papers reported that six sex shops in the centre of Belfast were under threat after moralists on Belfast City Council’s Health and Safety Committee rejected their applications for operating licences.

The shop owners were also warned they could face fines of up to £30,000 if they continue trading without a licence.

The decision to closed down the shops supposedly in response to a few vague complaints from local who residents who voiced concern at the contents of shops on Gresham Street and North Queen Street.

It is believed that the shop owners are considering legal action if they are forced to comply with the council decision. One shop owner expressed his disbelief that shops in Belfast were being refused licences when cities such as Glasgow and Manchester were not.

As a result several shops closed down in February:

  • Bliss Adult Play Things, 1 Smithfield Square West
  • MissTique, 27 Gresham Street
  • Naughty but Nice 2 Smithfield Square