Sex shops face fee to set up in county

A NEW fee has been imposed in a bid to stop potential sex establishments being opened in Northumberland.

Although no such venues are currently in the county, councillors are keen to maintain this as they set in place a new licensing policy. At last week’s full council meeting, members at Northumberland County Council backed proposals for a licence fee of £6,500, including a non-refundable administration fee of £1,500.

They were told that the fee was based on what nearby local authorities were charging and set to dissuade people from opening any establishments.

Presenting the report, chairman of the licensing committee Jeff Watson said: “We don’t have any sex establishments in Northumberland, but we still have to have a policy in place.

“We’ve listened to what other authorities in the North East are charging for licences.

“We had to be very careful as we border North Tyneside, Gateshead, Newcastle and Durham and wanted to make sure it wasn’t a fee that would interest anyone in coming to Northumberland and opening a sex establishment.

“We’ve pitched our fees right in the middle of those around us, but we don’t think there is an interest.”

A new policy has been put in place following a change to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, amended by Section 27 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009.