Liverpool council has given the green light for a brothel to operate in Prestons.
During last week’s council meeting all but two councillors – Maz Har Hadid and Ali Karnib – voted for the approval of the sex premises being established in an industrial area off Weld Road.
This establishment is the first of its kind to be approved by the council since 2012.
Currently there are five licensed sex premises operating in the local government area – four of which are in the central business district and within 500 metres of Liverpool Public School.
In 2014, the council made an amendment to the Liverpool Local Environmental Plan 2008 which prevented any further brothels from opening in the CBD.
The development application for the new premises on Weld Street was submitted in October this year.
The application had been considered by the Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel a month earlier after concerns had been raised about the proposal.
After further investigation into a church which had been located in a nearby building but ceased operation in 2012, the panel recommended the application be approved.
Liverpool council acting chief executive Kiersten Fishburn confirmed that “current planning controls would not allow another church or place of public worship to open” on the site.
The Weld Street brothel has been approved to operate between 9am and midnight, seven days a week.
It will have two working rooms with two sex workers and a receptionist/manager will be on the site at all times.
Both working rooms would contain a shower and one would have disabled bathroom facilities.
Two additional toilets would be available for use by staff and clients.
The applicant has stated that the only signage would consist of the address of the premises to enable it to be identified by clients.
During the council meeting, Cr Tony Hadchiti spoke for the motion to approve the site.
“While I’m not supportive of these types of things,” Cr Hadchiti said, “the council in its last term attempted to change its whole local environment plan to restrict these types of premises from being built in the whole of the local government area, but the department came back and said: ‘No, you can’t do that.’
“The council then took the approach that would prevent them from opening in the city centre and developed the policy to ensure this.
“This council has a responsibility to follow the local environment plan and the LEP states that this use is permissible and if people want to sit here now and [be against this] then change the LEP!
“When it comes to this type of premises I would prefer they be done there [in an industrial area] and not in the CBD.”
Councillor Mazhar Hadid however did not agree with his fellow Liberal party member.
“How many brothels do we need in Liverpool?” he asked the chamber.
“How many do we need? We put one one on Moore Street, there’s one on Northumberland Street, one on Scott Street, one on Railway Parade, one on George Street – there are too many of them.
“Why are we trying to destroy our family values? I just don’t understand it.”
Following the council meeting, Liverpool council chief executive Kiersten Fishburn said in a statement that the council undertook annual inspections of registered sex-premises within the Liverpool local government area.
This is to ensure they follow regulations and operate lawfully.
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