Sex shop replaced by clothes recycling firm
A PORT Talbot sex shop owner has decided to start afresh with a new, less controversial business.
Secret Desires in Taibach has been transformed into a Cash for Clothes shop.
Owner Simon Sternschuss said after four years of "aggro" from the local councillors he has decided to call it day and try a new business venture.
However, ward members John Rogers and Anthony Taylor said they were representing the concerns that came from the community.
"I have closed it down because of the aggravation I have had," he said.
"The licence fee has also gone up. The council licensing officers have been very good, but the councillors have been against it from day one.
"I feel like the business has been forced out."
Last year Mr Sternschuss won his battle with Neath Port Talbot Council to allow disabled customers to use the fire escape as a rear entrance.
"The whole appeal with the back door for disabled people cost me £4,000," he said. "It costs a lot of money. Every time the licensing renewal came up it has been ridiculous.
"It has been bad publicity and people are scared to come."
Earlier this week, on the day its licensing ran out, the store was turned into a cash for clothes shop. "We are now recycling clothes and we are putting something back into the community," he said.
"People can bring in their used clothes and soft toys and they will get paid cash for them.
"The clothes get recycled in eastern Europe and Africa.
"I sell them on. We are not a charity."
Mr Sternschuss added: "Maybe councillors will be happier with this use.
"They have caused me nothing but aggro and money. I have had enough of them."
Taibach councillors Mr Rogers and Mr Taylor said they sympathised with the needs of disabled customers during Mr Sternschuss's application for a rear entrance, but added that they felt a suitable entrance should be created at the front.
Mr Rogers said: "It has been nothing personal against him. He was not the original applicant that first opened it.
"Myself and my colleague were against it, as were many people in the community.
"We did not want the shop there."
Mr Rogers added: "I will say I am pleased it has gone and I welcome their new shop."
Mr Taylor added: "We were merely representing the constituents who came to us with concerns about it.
"They were not happy the shop was in a residential area.
"We did not think it would be a popular shop in Taibach.
"We don't want to lose business and employment in the area.
"We wish him the best of luck."