Strip club that 'bans staff from chewing gum and drinking from bottles' granted licence

A Birmingham strip club that asks its employees not to chew gum or drink from bottles has had its licence renewed, after previously receiving 37 objections from local businesses.

A mock-up of how La Belle's would appear at the junction of Newhall Street and Great Charles Street Queensway. Submitted with application to Birmingham City Council.
A mock-up of how La Belle's would appear at the junction of Newhall Street and Great Charles Street Queensway. Submitted with application to Birmingham City Council.

La Belle’s strip club, based in the former Cogs Bar opened its doors in 2019 amid a host of objections and a £2 million renovation. The club, on Newhall Street and Great Charles Street Queensway, applied for a new sexual entertainment licence to host nude lap dances and stage shows.

The club, initially closed due to financial strains resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, will now bring back its nude shows and lap dances, usually costing clients £20 for a minimum of three minutes.

Michelle Monaghan, who also runs the Cyclone gentlemen’s club on Broad Street, is behind the La Belle’s venue.

She is no stranger to controversy. The original opening of the club in 2019 was met with more than 37 objections from restaurant owners, businesses, and residents of nearby apartments. They argued a lap dancing club would be unsuitable for the area.

But, Birmingham Concil’s licensing committee approved the application, after a tense five-hour meeting.

Last month at a previous licensing committee meeting, Ms Monaghan said the strip club would enhance “Birmingham’s ability to perform on a global stage”.

She said: “I was here in front of the committee in 2019 applying for a sexual entertainment venue licence when there were 37 objectors. Now you do not have any residents objecting at all.

“I’ve been part of the city’s night economy now for over 20 years and been a key contributor to the local economy. The Belle does not harm the character or reputation of the area or in Birmingham.

“It’s a vibrant business which contributes to the local economy and will enhance Birmingham’s ability to perform on a global stage.”

The licensing committee heard only one objection was received by a local estate agent, who argued the La Belle venue “did not enhance” the Jewellery Quarter.

But Ms Monaghan asked the licensing committee to disregard the comments, adding “there is no requirement in the statute for a sexual entertainment venue to enhance anything.

“The area has a fantastic leisure and hospitality offering with a high proportion of independence and this is exactly what La Belle represents”.

Ms Monagham also noted the Colmore Business Improvement District (BID) felt that night-time entertainment venues in the area were a “key contributor” to the local economy.

Women employed at the strip club will be fined £10 for every missed pole-dance shift and cannot stand on upholstered furniture in their heels. They are also banned from chewing gum.

They are also banned from drinking from bottles. The strip club says they expect their employees to “act like ladies”.

In its deliberations, councillors at the licensing committee concluded: “The sub-committee observed that the applicant had been operating sexual entertainment venues in Birmingham without problems and that nothing had changed since 2019.

“The sub-committee did not find anything in the written representations to suggest that the proposed operation was unsatisfactory. All was found to be in order, and the sub-committee therefore granted the renewal with the standard conditions.”

The applicant has a right of appeal against this decision. The time for appeal to the magistrates’ court is contained in The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, and should be made within 21 days of the decision.

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