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SPARKED OBJECTIONS: Club plan boss denies ‘sex objects’ claim

SPARKED OBJECTIONS: Club plan boss denies ‘sex objects’ claim

The former Pizza Express in Dean Street, Newcastle city centre, which could be turned into the Cad Club, Image: LDRS

The operator of a proposed “James Bond meets Playboy” members’ club in Newcastle city centre has denied claims that its waitresses will be “sex objects”.

Plans were revealed this summer to turn the former Pizza Express in Dean Street into the Cad Club, a “high end” members-only venue with “scantily clad” hostesses.

The project has sparked a flurry of objections from city authorities and Newcastle Women’s Aid, which has warned that it would be “reinforcing [that] women and girls are for sexual entertainment and this somehow is a male entitlement”.

Ahead of a Newcastle City Council licensing hearing to decide the club’s fate next Tuesday, city councillor Lesley Storey also claimed that it could contribute to a “hostile” environment for women and that “we need to be going forwards not backwards into the 1950s”.

In an objection letter, the South Jesmond councillor added: “I fear for women working in the service industry if we grant premises like this the opportunity to promote waitresses as sex objects.”

But Dan Miller, of applicant Bijoux, has hit back at the criticism and said it was “deeply offensive” to suggest that the venue will objectify women.

Mr Miller added that the “James Bond meets Playboy” concept had been “completely misunderstood” and that there will be no lap dancing or striptease at Cad Club if it is granted a licence by the council next week.

He said there would be no uniform or specific dress code for staff, who will be both male and female, and that each employee would be given a clothing allowance to buy their own outfits to fit in with the club’s luxury aesthetic.

And despite the venue’s licence application stating that its waitresses will be “scantily clad”, Mr Miller insisted that there will be “no more flesh on show other than what you would normally expect from someone going on a night out”.

City centre councillors Jane Byrne, Shumel Rahman, and Teresa Cairns also objected to the plans, while the council’s community safety team warned that the club “fails to address the safeguarding of adults, with women subject to unwarranted attention or coercion and/or possible blackmail from syndication of photographs taken by patrons on mobile phones or other devices”.

Northumbria Police has also warned that the club could cause “higher levels of intoxication and alcohol related anti-social behaviour” around Dean Street and complained that its request to stay open until 3am goes beyond the city council’s usual 2am cut-off for alcohol sales.

Before Tuesday’s hearing, Mr Miller responded that there won’t be patrons  “falling out the door drunk”, adding that the club would be “about everything that is high end” and would have “the best food in Newcastle by far”.

 

Words: Daniel Holland, Local Democracy Reporter


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