Plans to spice up Midlothian nightlife face moral backlash

The publican plans to hold lapdancing nights in her bar

A PUB owner’s plan to introduce locals to the delights of lapdancing have sparked a moral backlash.

Norman Martin wants to spice up Midlothian’s nightlife by introducing regular lapdancing nights at his pub in the small community of Mayfield.

There are no other licensed lapdancing sessions anywhere in the council area and locals have branded the plan “disgusting”.

An unabashed Martin, 58, wants to introduce the adult-only entertainment on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

The owner of the Rown Tree hopes it will draw in customers put off visiting his pub by the smoking ban.

He said: “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.”

Mr Martin said he had a lot of female customers at his pub and would not want to alienate them.

He added: “Apparently the ladies who do the dancing aren’t put off by the other women being around.

“Also we would still have the bar for people who are not interested in that kind of thing.”

Mr Martin’s plan is to install poles in the lounge area and use the flat above the pub as a changing room.

“Are people in Mayfield ready for it yet?” he asked. “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.”

But Angela Marshall, a 35-year-old nurse and mother of two, is totally opposed to the plan. Angela, who lives round the corner from the pub, said: “It’s just not appropriate for that area. There’s a school nearby and there’s a lot of elderly people round here.

“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.”

Mary Dempster, 63, said: “I’m not a prude, but I hope it doesn’t go ahead.”

Mary, who describes herself as a community activist, added: “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.”

But the chairman of the local community council, Robert Hogg, said that if the lapdancing sessions were “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,” he said.

Midlothian Council said meetings of the licensing board are held in public and any objections to the plan could be raised.