Plans to move a private members’ club to a different location in Armley have been approved by Leeds City Council planners.
Applicant M Cooper has this week received planning permission to move existing gay sauna Steam Complex, currently based at Ledgard Way, to a nearby basement unit used for storage underneath a pet store at nearby 206 Armley Road.
The proposal includes a reception area, and bar serving only non-alcoholic drinks and 14 private rooms. Other facilities include changing areas, WC’s and ancillary office/staff facilities.
The statement adds that club offers a safe place for members to meet and will employ four full-time employees. It will open 6pm-12.30am Sunday to Thursday and 6pm-2am Fridays and Saturdays.
A planning statement submitted with the application states: “The premises propose to provide a discreet, clean, safe and controlled environment for like-minded adults to meet and potentially engage in legal sexual activities, within the private rooms provided.
“The benefits of the club to the safety of members are substantial. If such clubs were not to exist then members would be likely to look for alternative ways to meet like minded adults and engage with them if they were compatible,” the statement adds.
“All of the alternatives, such as meeting on the internet and then in public or private place are less controlled and ultimately less safe, particularly for more vulnerable persons.
“Although many people who meet outside of adult clubs are respectful people, some do engage in illegal sexual activity in public places, which is a problem in parts of Leeds area. The club will provide an alternative that will help to reduce illegal sexual activity in public.”
Following concerns raised by local councillors, the applicant has provided an amended plan to provide on-site car parking and has reduced the proposed hours of operation.
Cllr Andy Parnham (Lab, Armley) had raised concerns over another adult-only establishment and the impact of late-night opening on the area, Cllr Alice Smart had concerns over its proximity to residential homes, Armley Park Primary School and Armley Park, points echoed by Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves. No members of the public objected to the proposals.
A council planning officer’s report approving the plans added: “The premises propose to provide a discreet, clean, safe and controlled environment for like-minded adults to meet and potentially engage in legal sexual activities, within the private rooms provided.
“It is not considered the proposed use would have an adverse impact on residential amenity, highways safety or the character of the locality, due to the location of the application and the nature of the use.”
The applicant says the proposed use is not considered to be noisy when compared to a night-club. The group of buildings in the area share an 88-space car parking area.