Sex establishment licences

Sex establishments must be licensed by us. Apply to renew, update, transfer or get a new sex shop, sex cinema or sexual entertainment licence.

Download guidance for sex establishment licence applicants.

Return to your application to Licensing Services.

You must also:

We'll contact your at the end of the '28 day objection period' to give you further information about when your application. Download our policy for sexual entertainment venues.

We will use the following criteria when considering your application:

  • your suitability
  • whether you are a 'front' for someone else
  • the location and situation of the premises in relation to other premises in the area
  • whether the number of sex establishments in that locality is equal to, or exceeds the number that we consider appropriate for the area
  • any objections to your application

Download sex establishment licence conditions.

Sex establishments

A sex establishment can be any of the following:

  • a sex shop - premises where articles are sold (to a significant degree), which can be used in connection  with, or to promote, sexual activity
  • a sex cinema - premises used (to a significant degree) for showing films that are concerned primarily with, or relate to, or are intended to stimulate sexual activity
  • a sexual entertainment venue - premises where relevant entertainment is provided before a live audience for the financial gain of the organiser or the entertainer
  • relevant entertainment - live performance or any live display of nudity, which is of such a nature that it is provided, solely or principally, for the purpose of sexually stimulating any member of the audience

Cost of sex establishment licences

Sex shop or sex cinema licence costs:

  • new licence: £911
  • renew licence: £613
  • transfer licence: £613
  • update licence: £613

Sexual entertainment venue licence costs:

  • new licence: £1,457
  • renew licence: £1,080
  • transfer licence: £1,080
  • update licence: £1,080

Tacit consent

We may be unable to issue your licence, so this process does not fall under 'tacit consent' parameters:

  • you cannot assume permission will be given
  • contact Licensing Services if you have not heard from us after 28 days

Sex establishment fines and penalties

You are committing an offence and could be subject to an unlimited fine if you:

  • operate a sex establishment without a licence
  • fail to comply with a licence condition
  • admit anyone on to the premise under the age of 18

Declined sex establishment licences

If your application for a sex establishment licences is refused or you do not agree with a condition of the licence, you may appeal to the Magistrates Court.

An appeal against a decision made by the Magistrates Court may be appealed to the Crown Court.

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