Southborough Mayor hits out as sex shop bids to renew its licence
A BID to renew the licence at a sex shop close to several Tunbridge Wells schools has prompted a string of objections.
Residents have levelled stark criticism at the application by Secret Desires, at 152 London Road, Southborough, to renew its licence – and their calls have been backed by the town's mayor.
The shop controversially opened in 2006 and had its licence renewed with relatively little objection a year later.
But the latest application, which will be decided at a borough council meeting tomorrow, has been met with concerns of the "sexualisation" of children.
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The shop is on a route used by pupils from several schools, including Tunbridge Wells Girls' Grammar, Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, St Gregory's Catholic Comprehensive, Southborough Primary School and St Matthew's Primary School in High Brooms.
Southborough mayor Jacqui Jedrzejewski objected to the plans first time around and has not changed her mind, saying the nearby schools make it an inappropriate location for the adult shop.
She said: "It's on a major school route and although, in all fairness, they do obscure the windows, the fact remains it's an adult shop on the main thoroughfare – which school children walk past at least four times per day.
"This is an opportunity to review the licence again and I don't think there's any more support for it now than there was in the early days."
Mrs Jedrzejewski added: "They kept their word on keeping the windows obscured but it's still very much there. I think this is now an opportunity to not renew the licence.
"They have kept themselves discreet, I'm not against the shop – but there are better places for it to be."
A barrage of objections were posted on the borough council website, with the shop's placement near several schools being the bone of contention.
One former teacher said she was "dismayed" such a shop should be in the vicinity of five schools, another post read: "This type of shop is an extremely bad influence on the hundreds of young children who pass by every day to and from the school.
"Our youngsters need to be shielded from the seedy side of sex and its proliferation before they become damaged.
"Youngsters are curious and will look into what appears to be 'secret' just because this is a challenge to them."
Another objector said adults had a duty to protect children from "early sexualisation".
The owners of Secret Desires were unavailable for comment.