FENLAND: Councillor who quit in sex shop row blames colleagues for letting down Guyhirn villagers
EXCLUSIVE By JOHN ELWORTHY THE councillor who quit Fenland District Council in protest over approval of a sex shop in Guyhirn spoke tonight of his anger that no other councillors supported his protests. I can t see how people I work with want to support
By JOHN ELWORTHY
THE councillor who quit Fenland District Council in protest over approval of a sex shop in Guyhirn spoke tonight of his anger that no other councillors supported his protests.
"I can't see how people I work with want to support this sex shop," he said. "We should have said to put it on a trading estate," said Councillor Phil Wait.
He quit following approval of a licence application by entrepreneur Tony Ibrahim to convert the Little Chef at Guyhirn on the A47 into the 'Kiss Kiss' adult only shop.
"What really annoyed me was that every councillor I spoke to seemed to think it was fine- how can it be fine to put a sex shop so near to Play2Day and so near the village?" he said.
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"If you had a clean map of Fenland, where would you put a sex shop superstore? Why not next to the Boathouse in Wisbech? No of course you wouldn't so why here in Guyhirn.
"Why not in Whittlesey- councillors say they need something to liven up the town but ask the people of Whittlesey and you can probably guess the response."
Cllr Wait said he was astonished licensing committee members held a meeting in Guyhirn to view the application site but never met residents.
"I asked them- when did you speak to local residents and find out what they think? They didn't."
He added that the final straw came when a fellow councillor told him "you are never going to win."
Cllr Wait added: "After that I thought it best if I am out of it."
"When I went to the licensing meeting I spoke for 13 minutes against the sex shop. I wanted to show a DVD of what happens when drivers take their eyes off the road for a just a few seconds- for be sure they will when they see this building."
Cllr Wait said he couldn't see a way forward but regretted leaving the council after such a short term.
"I have done quite a few things for people in the ward but at the end of the day I can't see how others on the council could not see this as an important people issue.
"Why in heaven's name put a sex shop on the edge of a rural village and at the gateway to Fenland? You don't put a skip next to a hospital- so why put a sex shop next to a village?