Last week Southend-on-Sea Borough Council's Licensing Committee approved the renewal of The Cornucopia's Sex Entertainment Venue Licence. I sit on that committee, and I was one those who opposed the renewal.
The Cornucopia is found at the junction of Hartington Road and Marine Parade, in the middle of the town's 'golden mile'. The licence allows for striptease and lap dancing.
The stretch of seafront where the Cornucopia is found has seen a great deal of change in recent years, even since the last licence renewal. We now have a more family orientated seafront, with fountains at one end, and Adventure Island at the other. The Cornucopia sits right in the middle of this, the City Beach.
This area has many children wandering around, and to have them exposed to the sort of entertainment provided by The Cornucopia is a mistake, in my opinion. Sex entertainment venue should not be in areas where families and large numbers of children can be found. It is difficult to imagine an area of Southend where there are more children, except perhaps the borough's schools.
This borough aspires to be a family-friendly tourist destination and wishes to add to the six million plus visitors it already attracts. There has been a lot of investment and hard work committed to the central seafront area, and yet right in the middle is a venue offering decidedly un-family-friendly entertainment. In my humble opinion the licence renewal was a bad decision, notwithstanding the conditions attached to it. If this town really wants to be child and family friendly then it needs to start taking decisions to make that happen.