Swingers' venue which sparked fury in Heanor wins right to stay open
A CONTROVERSIAL swingers' club has been approved by councillors – despite 200 people signing a petition against it.
The Xotix Xtreme club, in Heanor, which features a dungeon and lockable "voyeur" rooms, had already opened its doors.
Owner Karen Keith was applying for permission retrospectively from Amber Valley planning board.
Paul Jones, a councillor for Heanor town and Amber Valley borough councils, said residents would be "very concerned".
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He said the club heaped further bad press on the town, after two BNP councillors were elected to the borough council in 2008. They lost their seats this year.
He said: "Heanor has had unwarranted publicity because of a far-right party and we are trying to encourage investment and are having difficulty.
"The planning board needs to look at the reputation and impact of their decision. Their decision could be detrimental to the community."
Councillor Marlene Bennett criticised club officials for opening without first getting approval for a change of use to the building.
The Heanor Gate Road venue used to be offices.
She said: "I am sick and tired and it is time we served action for the people who abide by the rules."
But she was told by officers this could not be a factor in her decision.
Church leaders in the town had previously argued the club undermined family life and started the petition.
Amber Valley Borough Council officers have inspected the premises and say the business is acting within licensing regulations.
There were also no objections from Derbyshire police, highways officers and environmental services staff.
And although councillors were outspoken in their opposition, officers told them there were no planning grounds to refuse the application. It was passed by six votes to four.
The club's owner, Karen Keith, was unavailable for comment but previously had told the Telegraph there had been no negative feedback from people living nearby.
"This is a private members' club," she said.
"We are doing nothing wrong and there is nothing people can see visually from the outside."