Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporter
Council members dismissed concerns that a sex shop near elementary schools used an “improper” bug on its storefront.
Lovecraft on Cowbridge Road recently applied to Cardiff Council for the renewal of the Sex Foundation’s license.
One person objected to the renovation due to concerns that children in nearby schools would pass and ask their parents what the store was selling.
The store used to have mannequins in its windows, but now has walls with gender symbols and a short list of its merchandise for sale, including “lingerie, marital aid, books and perfume.”
But those concerns were dismissed by council members on the Public Protection Committee, on Tuesday, November 2, who described the symbols as cute and harmless.
The person who wrote to the board, objecting to the request, said: “The store is located on a busy shopping street in a largely residential area, a few meters from St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School, and only a short walk from Severn Primary School. It is also directly opposite the station Buses used by families traveling to and from schools and downtown.
“The windows now display large images directly related to sexual themes – traditional symbols of males and females, along with new ones. These symbols appear in a lot of sexual and relationship education materials used in primary and secondary schools and are associated in children’s minds with sex and relationships.
“There is no doubt that young children ask parents and caregivers about the purpose of the store and what the various words in the displayed signs, including ‘rubber clothing’ and ‘couple aid,’ mean. The signs are inappropriate and encourage the association of sex with commerce.”
Previously, shop windows had mannequins. A council member claimed a few years ago that the models were arranged in sexual positions. After filing a complaint, the store owner agreed to tone down the screen and eventually closed the windows completely.
Counsellor Susan Goddard said, “I wasn’t offended by it, but I had a backup on supermodels in 2012. There was a woman kneeling in front of a mannequin, and that was pretty close to the mark. He agreed to change that and he did. But by having these icons he knows Kids are what they are – we use them in schools – I don’t find them offensive.”
Cllr Bob Derbyshire said, “If we were to allow stores to sell things of a sexual nature, you’re supposed to put something in the window. To me, that’s as cute as you can get, given the contents of the supposed store. If the schoolchildren knew these codes, It’s part of their growth and learning that these places exist.”
Neither the shop owner nor the objector attended the meeting to testify.