FENLAND: Tony Ibrahim secures licence to open the largest sex shop in the country outside London
BUSINESSMAN Tony Ibrahim today won his fight to run a fully-licensed sex shop that he claims will be the largest sex shop in the country outside of London. Councillors decided that objectors fears could be best met by conditions. Despite Mr Ibrahim now
WEB EXCLUSIVE by TOM JACKSON
BUSINESSMAN Tony Ibrahim today won his fight to run a fully-licensed sex shop that he claims will be “the largest sex shop in the country outside of London.”
Councillors decided that objectors’ fears could be best met by conditions.
Despite Mr Ibrahim now being free to open, protesters say they will continue their fight to stop Kiss Kiss’ opening in the derelict former Little Chef restaurant at Guyhirn on the A47.
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Mr Ibrahim was entitled to operate and run an adult-only shop, but needed a licence to sell adult videos and DVDs.
He told Fenland District Council’s licensing committee he wanted a licence so he could run the business by the book.
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After this morning’s meeting, Mr Ibrahim, whose family has been in business in the Fens for 35 years, said the sex shop will be “the largest sex shop in the country outside London”.
Mr Ibrahim, who previously ran a sex shop at Thorney Toll, said: “Now we have the licence, we are looking to be open by the end of the month.”
A heated meeting at Fenland Hall saw more than 30 protesters call for Mr Ibrahim to scrap his plans. Their objections included:
• Highway safety fears, caused by more vehicles using the car park at the shop,
• A close proximity to bus stops used by children,
• Being close to the village’s only shop (at the petrol station),
• Being across the road from Play2Day children’s play centre,
• Young people being enticed into the shop, and
• The shop would be on the main gateway into Fenland from the Midlands and, therefore, would be passed by thousands of holidaymakers and commuters every day.
Wisbech St Mary councillor Phil Wait told the committee: “I would urge you to protect our community. At the same time, Tony, villagers would be prepared to work with you to turn the shop into something else to be an asset to the community.”
But, despite their attempts, the chairman, Councillor Kit Owen, said the committee has “no say over the remarks you have made”.
He added: “The only difference from Wendy Jane in March was that Wendy Jane did not have a licence and could use lingerie models in the windows.
“Mr Ibrahim would be able to have that, but not if he has a sex licence. The only thing he will be able to do extra is sell R18 DVDs.”
Cllr Michael Humphrey added: “For us as a committee we cannot control your issues if the shop is not licensed.
“If Mr Ibrahim chooses to open he can sell 99 per cent of what he wants to sell without the licence. He can advertise things in a more indiscreet way.”
Councillors spent an hour considering their decision before Cllr Owen, announced their verdict.
“The decision was finely balanced,” he said. “We have acknowledged objectors’ concerns and feel they can be best met by controlling the premises by the local authority through the granting of the licence.”
The conditions imposed were:
• Windows shall be painted out so the premises are unobtrusive, in a colour to be approved by the licensing authority.
• Advertising, including the lettering, the size and the location of signage, to be approved by the licensing authority.
• Admittance and sales should be subject to proof of age to persons over 18 and ID must therefore be provided from anyone who may be less than 25 years of age.
After the meeting, Cllr Wait said he was “disappointed” with the decision.
Cllr Wait said: “It seemed to me that the thoughts of where it is and the effects it could have on the village have not been taken into consideration.
“It is the doorway to Fenland and the damage has been done.”
Marilyn Hyde said: “I would rather we did not have a sex shop here at all, but it is better that it is licensed and can be policed.”
Fellow protester Paul Carpenter, of the Guyhirn Village Action Group, said: “We are not going to give up.”