GLASGOW'S lapdancing clubs have been saved after councillors voted to prevent the opening of new venues but keep the current three in the city.

The decision was made following two lengthy consultations and a fiercely-fought campaign by dancers, who unionised in order to ensure they had a voice in the process.

A council committee last March voted to introduce licences for sexual entertainment venues (SEVs) in Glasgow but called for a second 18-month consultation before committing to details.

Today a meeting ruled that licence numbers should be set at zero - meaning no more lap dancing clubs can open in the city.

But the three current clubs have been granted licences by the city council under a "grandfather clause".

The move was welcomed with relief by dancers.

Debbie, a former dancer and one of the original campaign members, who uses her first name only, said: "As a former dancer and member of the original AskThe700 team I am glad to see the right decision was made. 

"We said all along - the council have the power but we have the knowledge and this has been realised today in this decision.

"Women's rights must be respected in all areas of life not just the ones we agree with. 

"We must continue to work towards giving women the right to decide for themselves, the right to financial security and the right to not be discriminated against because of where they work.

"I'd like to thank the council for showing us the humanity and respect we asked for, GMB for giving us the strategy and means to fight this and everyone who has supported us the whole way through. 

"We couldn't have done this without you."

The Scottish Government granted powers to local authorities to licence SEVs, which essentially gave councils the powers to shut clubs.

A first consultation process that ran for 12 weeks over summer 2019 drew 279 responses, 102 submissions from dancers, and was one of the largest ever for a licensing consultation.

Dancers were determined to be listened to and set up the AskThe700 campaign to fight back against closures. 

Megara Furie, who was also instrumental in the campaign, said: "I'm delighted to see almost four years of stress, worry and uncertainty over the future of jobs in SEVs finally come to a close today as Glasgow City Council granted grandfather rights to existing premises, effectively securing the jobs of Glasgow based entertainers.

"The objective of the AskThe700 campaign was always to be heard, included and considered. 

"This has been done today.

"I personally must thank the forces of nature that were the AskThe700 team of dancers. 

"Their strength, courage and leadership in this campaign was vital.

"As dancers they secured their jobs and as women - they made history.

"I'd also like to thank GMB Union for putting their faith in us and having our backs. 

"While others tried to make us take a ride out of town - GMB gave us ammo."

The report before councillors today said that 88% of respondents agreed with the licensing objective of "preventing public nuisance, crime and disorder and 65% of the respondents agreed with the Committee’s approach to the licensing objective of protecting children and young people from harm."

Women's groups such as Rape Crisis, SayWomen, Glasgow Violence Against Women partnership and the Daisy Project were also consulted and held the view that lap dancing is a form of violence against women and girls.

The new licensing regime is now scheduled to come into effect later this year.

Chaired by councillor Alex Wilson, there were no questions asked by the committee, which heard details from a report before retiring to consider its verdict. 

A committee spokesperson said: "The committee has agreed that the appropriate number of SEVs for Glasgow City Centre and outwith the city centre should be set at zero and grandfather rights be given to those SEVs currently in existence as at March 24, 2021, when they passed a resolution to licence SEVs.

"We have also agreed to set an application fee of £1792 both for the granting and renewal of a sexual entertainment licence for a three year period."