THE owners of Swindon’s two lap dancing clubs fear jobs could be lost if council plans to change the terms of their licences go ahead.

Foxies and Dream Lounge, both based at Regent Circus, have lodged objections to a new council licence for “sex establishments”.

Under the new policies, club bosses are asked to ensure that no performer dance nude or semi-nude unless a floor supervisor is within five metres of the dancer. And dancers are banned from straddling customers or touching them below the chest.

Last month, the two Swindon clubs, both based at Regent Circus, lodged objections to the new rules, requesting that there be no change to their existing operation.

And one of the owners has invited councillors to visit her club to see for themselves that it is run properly.

But one former pole dancer is warning that the new measures would protect performers, and wants girls to be given professional training to help them look after themselves.

Borough councillors agreed new licence arrangements for gentlemen’s clubs and sex shops in late 2016, bringing Swindon in line with national guidelines.

In documents filed with the borough’s licensing team, club bosses say that: n Strict rules govern relationships between dancers and customers, with CCTV, security patrols and clear lines of sight through clubs ensuring dancers’ safety.

n Many customers rely on their services. “This is not about sexual stimulation but simply human contact,” David Broome of Foxies said.

n Together, the clubs employ 105 people. If the rules were to change, jobs could be put at risk.

Mr Broome said: “If the rules were to change too radically it could be detrimental to our business, which would impact not only on those who work at Foxies, but on the wider Swindon community.

“The business of Foxies is a gentlemen’s club, otherwise known as a lap dancing club.

“If we are unable to offer lap dancing we do not have a business.”

Dream Lounge’s Sandra Rogers invited members of the licensing committee to visit the club. She said: “Our dancers tell us that they feel safer working in Dream Lounge, where there are procedures in place to keep them safe, than they do on a night out in Swindon town centre where there are more potential dangers.

“Our performers are strong and confident women who choose to work in our environment because they enjoy the social aspect and the release from the pressures of their everyday life.”

A small number of objections to the clubs’ bid have been sent to the council. While most complaints are from nearby residents, former pole dancer Christine Gregory believes that the proposed council rules would help protect vulnerable women from harm.

The mum-of-four, 38, who spent six months dancing at Foxies in 2005 after completing a pole dancing fitness course, warned that the industry had changed significantly in the 10 years since she started dancing professionally.

She said: “Before it used to be more stripper entertainment, where the girls had several layers of clothing they would remove – almost like burlesque – and the dances were performed behind a line a metre away.”

Now, the dancing had become more provocative. “My concern is what’s going to happen over the next 10 years,” she said.

Christine fears that naive younger women could get drawn into a murky world by unscrupulous bouncers and private pole dancing teachers.

Citing provocative modern music and “misleading job roles”, she said: “It’s so much easier for individuals to recommend to women that they get into the industry, dropping the seed of thought of becoming a pole dancer.

“This is going to have a huge impact on the next generation and we need to be prepared as a community.”

In documents sent to the licensing department, Foxies said: “We take our responsibilities towards our dancers, staff and customers very seriously.” Dancers were looked after by a “dance manager” with 15 years’ experience at the club.

The Dream Lounge added that any “misbehaviour” by either the dancers or customers was dealt with immediately.

Mr Broome told the Advertiser: “Both venues already have strict procedures in place to ensure the safety of our performers and our customers.”

The case is expected to be discussed at an upcoming meeting of the borough’s licensing committee.