Edinburgh sauna chiefs drop legal bid to stay open

Sauna bosses have abandoned their legal action. Pic: Toby Williams

Sauna bosses have abandoned their legal action. Pic: Toby Williams

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SAUNA bosses in Edinburgh have abandoned a legal action which they hoped would allow for the continued operation of their businesses.

Lawyers acting for the owners of three saunas in Edinburgh told the city’s sheriff court today that they no longer want to appeal against closure by using the Scottish legal system.

They now want to continue their battle to remain open by appealing to Edinburgh City Council - they want councillors to overturn their decision from earlier this year which resulted in the saunas’ operating licences being suspended.

Edinburgh City Council have for many years tolerated the saunas which allow men to pay for sex with females who work there.

However, in June 2013, police started raiding the saunas and Edinburgh City Council suspended the licences of six sex for sale centres.

This prompted the action in Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Last month, people associated with the saunas said they had a list of 50 “well known” public figures who paid for sex at their businesses.

They said the list included police officers, council officials, lawyers and two “celebrities” and they planned to name these individuals in court.

However, the names weren’t revealed during the two minute long court hearing on Friday.

During the proceedings, Sheriff Neil MacKinnon was told that the proprietors of the Paradise, the New Gentle Touch and the Dundas Street Sauna no longer wanted the matter heard in court.

Sheriff MacKinnon then agreed to end the legal action.

The sauna owners will now return to Edinburgh City Council’s licensing committee in the hope that they will be able to persuade the councillors to keep their businesses open.

Lawyers for the three remaining saunas whose licenses were suspended, Scorpio Leisure, the Blair Street Sauna and the New Town Sauna, are set to argue their cases at Edinburgh Sheriff Court next Friday