BOSSES of a swinging club in Sunderland say they provide a service to people with medical issues and couples who have drifted apart.
The Echo reported on Monday that Hendon ward councillor Barbara McClellan wants Vivente Club, which has opened in the city’s East End, to close down.
Swinging, where couples swap sexual partners, is not illegal but council bosses said the club’s owners need planning permission to operate – which Vivente does not have.
Ward councillor Barbara McClennan branded the club’s activities as “sordid” but Vivente have said they offer a safe haven for those seeking an “alternative lifestyle”.
A spokesman said: “We would like to defend this lifestyle choice on behalf of thousands of swingers across the country.
“Every member of these clubs go for differing reasons.
“Many couples attend because of medical reasons. Men with impotency or low sex drives due to illness worry their wives will stray so this is an alternative.
“Another reason is many couples who have drifted apart due to work commitments, demanding family lives and no time together come to clubs to have somewhere private to be intimate and not always with other people.
“Some couples go to Anne Summers to spice up their love life, others prefer coming to venues like ours.”
The spokesman also said single women go to the club because they feel more safe than on the streets of Sunderland.
He added: “Our club has private lockable rooms where intimacy can take place. You do not walk into the building or the social area and witness any sexual activity.
“We have many single women who prefer our club because if they had a night out in town they are harassed by drunken, binge drinkers who won’t take no for an answer.
“At least within our environment they are safe to meet other single men and get to know them without threat.
“The club focuses very much on the social aspect of the swinging scene. We have a brilliant atmosphere.”
Vivente also denied they had flouted planning regulations.
The spokesman said: “We have not disregarded the advice of the council. We have worked alongside them and adhered to their guidelines.
“I believe Ms McClennan has a lot more serious issues to address within her ward than concern herself over what consenting adults do in the privacy of Hudson Road.”
The Hendon councillor has said planning officers will use their “full weight” to close down the club.
We reported how the club charges couples £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.
Sunderland City Council confirmed it has not given the club – which has opened metres from Hudson Road Primary School – the go-ahead.