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By Alis Lewis
Located on Oxford’s Oxpens Road, the club had previously been denied a renewal of its licence by the Oxford City Council Licensing Committee due to factors including its proximity to an ice skating rink and Cherwell College, which are both open late in the evenings. Attention was also drawn to the nature of the club, which some deemed as objectifying women.
The stay granted by the High Court will allow the club to continue providing sexual entertainment until the judicial challenge against the City Council is resolved- a process which may take several months.
A spokesman for the City Council, said: “This is a disappointing development which runs counter to the evidence presented to the Licensing Committee on concerns generated by the presence of The Lodge.
“The committee’s decision not to renew the licence for these premises for sexual entertainment was taken in good faith on the balance of evidence presented to it.
“[T]he Council will continue to monitor the operation of these premises during the period of the ‘stay’ to ensure that the limited controls provided by licence conditions are adhered to.”
A spokesperson for the Oxford Feminist Network, said: “The Lodge has not had its license renewed, it’s had the removal of its license stayed pending a Judicial Review….In the meantime owners of The Lodge have continued to make clear their contempt for local residents who have valid objections on the basis of their experiences of The Lodge operating at it’s current site – that is a position which is wholly contemptible in our opinion.”
However Al Thompson, owner of the club, was thrilled at the High Court’s decision. He said: “We are very very pleased that the decision of Oxford City Council to refuse our application to renew our SEV license at The Lodge Gentleman’s Club … has been stayed by the High Court pending the full hearing.
“The Court have noted the good history we have operating in Oxford and the potential strength of our case.”
He added: “Myself, staff and the management team are both relieved and delighted to back at work. We will be open from Wednesday 24th October 2012.”