A CHURCH leader fears a swingers club just metres from his church will force families to stop attending services if the sex venue continues operating.
Pastor Anthony Aisien, from the City of God church, said he was “very concerned for children from the church” after the private members club opened up earlier this year.
Sunderland City Council is due to consider tomorrow whether to grant retrospective planning permission allowing the Hudson Road venue to continue running.
Pastor Aisien told the Echo: “It is not okay, it is not right. This shouldn’t be located on our doorstep.
“We are very concerned about our children and the impression this will have on them.
“We don’t only have services here on Sundays, but meetings throughout the week. People will pull their children out, families will leave the church.
“Surely the best place for this type of thing is on the outskirts, not in the city centre.” The club – just yards from Hudson Road Primary School – hosts “theme nights” four nights a week for “specific members wishing to participate in more adult social and interactive environments”.
Swinging, where couples swap sexual partners, is not illegal, but council bosses said it needed planning permission to change the use of the venue.
The club will also operate, through the day, for exercise classes, including pole fitness, Salsa and Zumba.
Alison Burn, another objector to the club, stated: “While I have no objection to dance as a means of keeping fit, I find it strange that it should warrant a change of use to a private members club and not a gym.
“I suspect what is already going on at the premises is another sort of dancing entirely. This sort of activity is not going to help the area. The area needs coffee shops, activity through the day and not distasteful private members clubs encouraging nighttime traffic.”
Despite a request from the Echo, nobody from the club was available for comment. However in an earlier statement, bosses there defended the venue.
A spokesman said: “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.