A swingers’ club in Heanor can stay open after Amber Valley’s planning board councillors voted in favour of approving its retrospective application.
Applicant Karen Keith’s bid to change the use of a former gym on Heanor Gate Road into a private members’ club - Xotix Xtreme - got the go ahead on Monday, November 19, amid concerns about “unsocial behaviour” and problem parking.
The council had received nine letters of objection and two petitions with around 280 signatures opposing the club, which features a dungeon and lockable “voyeur” rooms.
Despite the furore, only one member of the public spoke out against the club at the meeting.
George Woodward, of Heanor Gate Association Ltd, claimed his security outfit had CCTV evidence of club members engaging in “unsocial behaviour” and carrying alcohol in to the club. He told the meeting: “We have concerns. There have been serious problems with unauthorised and dangerous parking.”
He added several firms on the industrial estate had experienced trespass and that on November 10 police had to deal with the problem parking with over 40 vehicles.
Cllr Paul Jones said the club was “not good publicity for Heanor”.
He said: “I think the impact would be detrimental. I am not aware of any local needs that this establishment will provide. It’s the residents who are suffering and they weren’t consulted.”
Cllr Marlene Bennett said she was “sick and tired” of retrospective planning applications. “It’s time it was sorted,” she said. “It’s not fair to the people that abide by the rules.”
Cllr Bob Moon said: “There’s a lot of unease in Heanor about this application - a lot to do with peoples’ perception of what’s going on there.”
Officers advised councillors that “issues regarding, sexuality, morality and humanity are not material planning considerations in consideration of the proposed use”.
They said no complaints had been received about disruptive parking and that licensing officers had confirmed no alcohol was served on the premises.
Councillors were told they could only refuse the application if the change of use was contrary to existing policy - but since it had already been approved as a gym, this was not the case.
Club owner Karen Keith, of Stockdove Close, Sinfin, did not respond to the News’ request for an interview.
The club celebrates its first anniversary on December 1.