In the Media

Lap dancing club? In this town we don't even have a tattoo shop

PUBLISHED July 2, 2012

John Shayler applied for a sexual entertainment licence for a club in Ampthill, Beds, which he claimed would boost the local economy, and posted an advertisement seeking performers aged up to 60.

He even declared himself as being like Walt Disney, and described opponents to the move as old-fashioned. Residents have criticised his plans as a joke for a town they say is "too posh" even for a tattoo studio.

He has now provoked fresh debate by putting up a notice in the proposed club advertising for male, female, homosexual, transvestite and even transsexual dancers. The advertisement, seeking people from the town and nearby villages, asks for applications from anyone aged between 18 and 60.

The full notice reads: "Dancers required. We are now actively seeking dancers to join our team. We would like to hear from Ampthill, Flitwick and the surrounding villages, 18 to 60 years only please. 1. Male dancers; 2. Female dancers; 3. Gay male dancers; 3. [sic] Lesbian dancers; 4. Transvestite dancers; 5. Transsexual dancers.

"Experiences [sic] preferred but not required as training will be provided."

Jennie Sewell, who lives in the same street as the proposed club, said: "He says he wants some Disney World experience - what are we going to have, Minnie Mouse stripping off? I think someone is having a laugh. You can't take things like this seriously. The opening hours are as late as 1.30am and that's an issue in itself.

"I didn't even think there was a market for lap dancing in Ampthill."

Mr Shayler submitted the application to Central Bedfordshire council for a sexual entertainment licence for a property in Church Street.

Licensing records show he has held permission to host live and recorded music, with facilities for making music and dancing, supplying alcohol and late night refreshments since 2008 at his restaurant, Shaylers.

The licence is granted to "Lord John Shayler" - a title he appears to have adopted as part of plans for his strip club, which he wants to call Lord's.

Mr Shayler, who is also involved with a lap dancing club called Junction 9, in Dunstable, Beds, previously said: "Like Walt Disney I want to create that Disney World bubble where people turn up miserable and leave with a smile on their face.

"I want to bring a bit of magic to people's lives. The residents of Ampthill are all prepared to haul me over the coals before they've even heard my plans.

"It's something I've been considering for 18 months, and anyone who asked me what I'm doing with the place in that time would have heard me say, 'I'm opening up a lap dancing club'."

If granted a licence, the premises will be open from 7pm-12.30am Monday to Wednesday and 7pm-1.30am Thursday to Saturday.

Residents have until July 14 to make representations to the council regarding the application.