Swingers in East Lothian could need a licence to party

Sex clubs and private swingers parties could require a licence to operate in East Lothian from next year.

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Locals are being asked whether it should introduce licensing for adult entertainment venues which could impact on people hosting sex parties in their homes as well as public venues.

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The proposed licence rules define Sexual Entertainment Venues (SEV) as any “vehicle, vessel or stall” adding only private dwellings “to which the public is not admitted” are excluded.

A licence could be needed for sex clubs or swingers parties in East Lothian

Setting out guidelines for what qualifies as an SEV the council says money does not have to change hands for something to be classed as sexual entertainment.

It says “sexual entertainment’ means any live performance or any live display of nudity which is of such a nature, ignoring financial gain, such that it must be reasonably assumed to be provided solely or principally for the purpose of sexually stimulating any member of the audience.

However it adds that no licence would be required as long as events were not held more than four times a year at any given venue.

And it is consulting on whether a no touching rule should be included in licence conditions.

There are no known established sex or adult entertainment venues in East Lothian.

Asked whether the licences could under the current descriptions be required for swingers parties – where people gather in private homes for sexual entertainment, the council acknowledge that the licences could be required for private parties.

A spokesperson said: “Strictly speaking it could be true that such ‘private parties’ may need to be licensed and that any organised swingers clubs might be caught by this.

“However the legislation is probably designed more to catch prostitution being operated out of private homes rather than consenting adults where no money is changing hands.

“Enforcement, as with all licensing, would be a matter for the police as operating without a licence is a criminal offence.

“The council does not become involved in enforcement action where people do not have a licence – the local authority’s role is simply to carry out any applications/paper work.”

The public consultation on whether the council should introduce licences was sparked after the Scottish Government gave them discretionary powers to introduce the additional powers.

A survey launched on the East Lothian Consultation Hub asks for public views on whether venues should be licensed, what impact they think a licence would have on SEV workers and staff and whether the location of an SEV should be considered as part of the licence.

People are also asked for views on how many licences should be allowed at any given time and what areas they should be restricted to if any, for example town centre, rural or industrial estates.

They are also asked for their views on a range of conditions the council could consider as part of their policy for issuing licences.

The conditions include full details of all performers to be made available to council officers, immigration checks to identify victims of human traffickers and no touching rules between performers and customers.

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