A COUNCILLOR has slammed a new swingers’ club, which has opened up in Sunderland.
According to its website, Vivente Club, in Hudson Road, Hendon, promises late-night sex-swapping parties five nights a week – and organisers offer to open “by appointment only” between 10am-4pm.
The club – just yards from Hudson Road Primary School – also hosts monthly themed evenings, including Back to School, Grease and Superheroes.
Couples pay £25 for a 12-month membership, allowing them access to three lounge floors, six “playrooms” and a couples-only area. The club also has an 11-room bed and breakfast.
Swinging, where couples swap sexual partners, is not illegal, but council bosses said it needed planning permission to operate – which Vivente’s owners do not have.
And ward councillor Barbara McClennan said officers will use the “full weight” of their powers to pull the plug on the club.
She said: “Regardless of what activity goes on in this building, the operators have to accept that if they flout the law or choose to ignore advice about planning regulations or licensing requirements, I – backed by a team of highly professional and determined officers – will use the full weight of our powers to stop any illegal or unregistered activity.
“Officers have warned them and have spent a great deal of time giving advice and guidance to ensure compliance. They have chosen to ignore it – be it on their heads.”
She added that the swingers were not welcomed by people living and working in Hendon.
“The particularly sordid nature of this club makes me – backed by local residents – even more determined to block this blatant attempt to cash in on people’s sexual interests,” she added.
“If someone wants to live a swinging lifestyle, let them do it in their own homes – not on the doorsteps of Hendon residents, around the corner from a local school and near places of worship.”
Sunderland City Council confirmed the authority had not given the club – which has opened directly opposite Christian media outlet, God TV – the go-ahead.
Cabinet Secretary, Councillor Mel Speding said: “The use of the premises as a swingers’ club is unauthorised and needs planning permission.
“All planning applications are considered on their individual merits and have to undergo a statutory period of public consultation.
“This gives local residents, businesses and community partners the opportunity to make their views known on proposed developments within their area.”
Vivente’s organisers claimed to have 20 years’ experience of the swinging scene and boast on their website: “We want to break the stereotypical ideals people have about swinging and hopefully bring something fresh and vibrant to our venue.”
Despite requests from the Echo, nobody from Vivente was available for comment.