FIRE chiefs have raised concerns about the safety of a swingers’ club close to Sunderland city centre, the Echo can reveal.
Vivente Club, in Hudson Road, Hendon, was the target of much opposition when it opened in early 2014, because of its closeness to the City of God Church and Hudson Road Primary School.
One of my principle concerns has always been public safety in the building, so I’m pleased that the owners are working with agencies such as the fire brigade to address any issues.Hendon councillor Barbara McClennan
Fire chiefs today said they are working alongside Vivente bosses to “improve public safety” at the venue, which is shut until the end of this week but is usually open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Fire safety group manager Phil Clark, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are aware of the premises and we are working with partners and the occupier to improve public safety.”
A notice on Vivente’s website says: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, Vivente will be closed until May 1.
“We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”
Bosses at Vivente have not yet commented about the fire safety issues, despite attempts by the Echo to contact them.
Swinging, where couples swap sexual partners, is not illegal.
At a meeting of the Sunderland City Council’s planning committee in June last year, members rejected a retrospective bid by those running Vivente to change the use of the building into a private members club.
But the club’s owners said they would carry on with their business and appeal the decision to deny the change of use, which they were successful in doing.
Hendon councillor Barbara McClennan, who has been against the running of the club since it first opened last year, labelling it a “vampire building”, said: “One of my principle concerns has always been public safety in the building, so I’m pleased that the owners are working with agencies such as the fire brigade to address any issues.
“We cannot afford to take any risks with people’s lives.”
The venue currently operates three nights a week according to its website.
A year’s membership for couples is priced £25 and for single women it is £10.
Club rules request that visitors “dress smartly, no tracksuits, baseball caps.”
Information on the site reads: “Our building is very unassuming from the outside (just how we like it), there is ample parking and our entrance is very discreet.
“We have the added bonus of not being located in a residential area.
“Inside the building we cover three floors with a very spacious bar, dance floor and social area. We have eight playrooms which hold a few surprises, a couples only chill out area, lockers and changing room as well as showers.”