22nd Feb, 2019

Sex industry event at Ricoh Arena set for go-ahead with Coventry council waiving its own rules

Felix Nobes 15th Jan, 2019

COVENTRY council is set to clear the way for a major ‘adult industry’ event showcasing sex toys at the Ricoh Arena.

The licensing committee is to consider waiving council policy which usually requires a ‘sex establishment licence’ application for such an event – costing about £5,750.

Organisers Erotic Trade Only (ETO) had requested that the costly licence application be waived for its exhibition at the Wasps-owned venue, where the council is freeholder.

It has also applied – using an ‘event overview’ submission – on the basis that it would stage the show for trade only, and only advertise in its own company magazine and other trade magazines.

Yet the show scheduled for March is already being advertised on its website and its social media.

And it is despite councillors not meeting until next Tuesday to consider whether to grant the go-ahead without an application.

ETO describes itself on its website as ‘the UK’s leading source of information on the adult industry’.

The ETO’s website advertises products such as ‘Autoblow AI’ – a machine which performs sex acts – and a diverse array of imaginative sex toys.

Also on display will be fetish wear and gear, lingerie and sexual health products.

The over-18s event would not be available to the public and admission for people from the adult industry would be ‘by invite only’.

No sales would be made at the ‘networking’ event, in which suppliers ‘showcase’ their products to operators of licensed sex shops.

The report states it is permitted under law to grant a waiver in instances where it would be ‘unreasonable or inappropriate’ to require a licence.

A council officer’s report to the licensing and regulatory committee informs councillors a licence application would usually be required as the two-day event comes within the category of being a ‘sex shop’ for licensing purposes.

It states: “An important element in the definition of a sex shop is the words ‘significant degree’, and because of this shops can sell a small proportion of sex articles without needing a licence (an example being Ann Summers in the city centre).

“The ETO show event overview clearly states that there will be a smaller percentage of sex articles, such as adult toys, displayed at the exhibition (approximately 40 per cent) in comparison to the other items such as lingerie and sexual health products (approximately 60 per cent).

“Licensing officers have sought the view of legal experts with regard to this case, and it is the view of counsel that in circumstances such as these, a waiver is the most appropriate and reasonable course of action.

“Licensing officers will liaise closely with both the Ricoh Arena and the event organiser to ensure that all details in the event overview are adhered to.”

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