A COMMUNITY pub owner has sparked anger with plans to drum up trade by introducing regular lapdancing nights.
Norman Martin, 58, owner of the Rowan Tree in Mayfield, is planning to apply for a licence to host adult entertainment on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in what would be Midlothian’s first strip bar.
The idea has already attracted anger over fears it will send out the wrong message to youngsters.
Speaking about his plans, Mr Martin told the Evening News: “There’s absolutely no doubt about it, there is nothing of the kind in Midlothian.
“Since the smoking ban, we need a reason for the people to come in.
“I’ve been to a couple of lap dancing bars on stag dos and, to be honest, they are very busy. I have got a quite a few female customers and I wouldn’t want to alienate them, but apparently the ladies who do the dancing aren’t put off by other woman being around.
“Also we would still have the bar for people who are not interested in that kind of thing.”
The erotic shows would take place in the lounge area, with the flat above the pub used as a changing room.
Poles for the dancers would be installed added Mr Martin, who has owned the pub for the past ten years.
“Are people in Mayfield ready for it yet? That’s the one thing we are not sure about.
“The reason it works so well in Edinburgh is because it has passing trade and lots of stag parties, but I do think there is a market for it here. I’ve had quite a lot of lads asking when it’s going to start.”
Mum-of-two Angela Marshall, 35, a qualified nurse who lives around the corner from the pub, branded the idea “disgusting”.
“It’s just not appropriate for that area. There’s a school nearby and there’s a lot of elderly people round here.
“I’d definitely object to it and I know other people would as well.
“It’s sending out the wrong message. When you see some of the things kids these days are wearing, short skirts and things like that.
“And you don’t know who that sort of thing is going to bring in to the area.”
Mayfield resident Mary Dempster, 63, who describes herself as a community activist, said: “I’m not a prude, but I hope it doesn’t go ahead.
“If that’s the depths the Rowan Tree has to go to to titillate people, it’s really sad. It might attract some teenagers or young people to get involved in this kind of thing.”
Robert Hogg, chairman of Mayfield and Easthouses Community Council, said he did not believe lapdancing was right for the area.
He added: “At the moment, everybody has got to look at their premises to see what the best way to keep them going.
“Whether this is the right thing to do, I don’t know. At the end of the day, people will vote with their feet.
“If it was well run and everything was above board it would be hard to object.
“You can’t fault someone for trying to keep their business going by looking at different ideas.”
A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “Anyone applying for an alcohol licence must submit something called an operating plan. This detailed document includes a question on if adult entertainment will be provided.
“Meetings of the licensing board are held in public and members of the public and police can raise objections to licence applications.”