Birmingham strip club set to fine dancers who are late for work as it bids to reopen

A Birmingham strip club applying to reopen after refurbishment has unveiled its rule in which it fines dancers who are late for work
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A Birmingham strip club that charges £20 for a three-minute lap dance could have its licence renewed.

La Belle’s, situated on the corner of Newhall Street in the city centre, has been closed for the past 18 months due to renovation work. Owner Michelle Monaghan, who also runs The Cyclone gentlemen’s club on Broad Street,  wants to reopen the venue once refurbishment is complete.

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She has unveiled a list of strict rules that will be applied in the club operations if it gets the go ahead to reopen - including fines for dancers who are late for work. You can see the full list below.

Have there been any objections to La Belle’s strip club reopening?

La Belle’s has, though, received an objection from a woman living in an apartment block, Devonshire House, next door. The resident told council officers: “I wish to object to the renewal of the licence for La Belle’s. The side entrance is a few yards away from the only entrance to my home in Devonshire House and I am concerned about the potential for an increase in drug usage and dealing.

“The vicinity of the Newhall Street is currently quiet overnight although music from JoJo Lounge bar, next to La Belle’s, can sometimes be heard during the late evening. The nature of the proposed business at La Belle’s implies music throughout the opening hours (10.30pm to 5am, Monday to Sunday), with doors opening and closing and customers arriving and leaving.

“The resulting noise could be a disturbance to residents throughout the night until closing at 5.30am which would have an inevitable impact on the quality of life for residents. As a young woman, because of the nature of the proposed business and the potential for an increase in street drug dealing in the area, I would feel much less safe in the vicinity of La Belle’s in the event of the building reopening for the purposes of sexual entertainment.

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“I would also like to note that no-one in Devonshire House has been notified about this proposal. I only found out due to a member of my family spotting an updated sign on the other side of the metal barriers. As the building behind is residential, I would have expected landlords, if not residents, to be contacted about this proposal.”

La Belle’s, formerly Cog’s Bar, received just two objections in total over the renewal of its licence, with the other from the resident’s father who visits regularly. He also cited concerns over potential drug use and dealing as well as continued street activity and disturbance into the early hours, seven days a week.

La Belle’s strip club in BirminghamLa Belle’s strip club in Birmingham
La Belle’s strip club in Birmingham

What has La Belle’s strip club said in response to the objections?

But Ms Monaghan labelled objections as “imaginary concerns”. She said: “There is no known correlation between drug use and sexual entertainment venues (SEVs) generally, or La Belle’s specifically. It is notable that the objectors haven’t raised any evidential reference to drug dealing in this location currently but surmise that the licensing of La Belle’s might introduce such activity. This is completely baseless.

“Fundamentally, the responsible authorities, West Midlands Police and the licensing authority, evidently do not share this concern or they would have objected. At the initial grant of this licence in 2019, there were 23 residential objections to the licence, some of whom cited the same unfounded suspicions which were examined in great detail by the committee and debunked.

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“I have over 20 years in the licensing industry and over a decade of that I have been operating SEV-licensed venues in the city of Birmingham. The Cyclone Club on Broad Street has had its licence renewed for 11 consecutive years without issue. If there were any concerns regarding my ability to effectively operate an SEV licence in the city, or concerns regarding criminality and anti-social behaviour in those venues, the relevant authorities would be objecting today (September 27) but they’re not.”

In summary and, after a short break, chair of the licensing meeting, Coun Sam Forsyth, recommended that La Belle’s sexual entertainment venue (SEV) licence be granted. A formal decision will be issued in the next week.

Rules at La Belle’s strip club - including fines for dancers who are late

As part of the application process, owner Ms Monaghan was again required to provide information about La Belle’s and the services it offers. In a document, a bizarre set of rules is applied to each dancer, as outlined below:

  • All dancers are required to arrive early for their shift to ensure they are on the floor before opening time. Any dancers arriving late will be fined £10 for every 30 minutes they are late.
  • If you are unable to attend a shift, please give the house manager at least four hours’ notice to avoid being fined.
  • Dancer’s house fee is payable on arrival of your shift.
  • Drugs are not permitted on these premises at any time. Any dancer found in possession of drugs will be asked to leave with no refund of the house fee or commission earned that shift.
  • Dancers are permitted to eat during their shift, but not on the floor, only in the changing area. Smoking is only permitted in designated areas.
  • Every dancer is required to dance on the pole during her shift. Failure to do so will result in fines of £10 for every missed stage call.
  • Any dancer found stealing will be asked to leave with no refund of the house fee or commission earned that shift.
  • Dances are £20 each and must last at least three minutes.
  • Under no circumstances is prostitution allowed.
  • Under no circumstances let the customer touch you.
  • No heels on the upholstered furniture. Repetitive warnings will lead to a fine
  • No mobile phones on the floor, only to be used in the changing room.
  • Dancers must not insult or argue with customers. Any disputes with other girls must be dealt with discreetly, not on the floor and not in front of customers.
  • Dancers are responsible for their belongings and the club accepts no responsibility for lost or stolen items of personal property.
  • All dancers are required to maintain a level of decorum; personal hygiene, hair, nails, skin and make-up must be maintained throughout the shift.
  • No drinking from bottles; this is a gentleman’s club and we expect you to act as ladies.
  • No chewing gum on the floor; again, we expect you to act as ladies.
  • All dancers are responsible for their own tax and national insurance, and any medical insurance you require. It is advised you seek an accountant.
  • I have been advised and accept there is CCTV throughout the premises.

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