Sex establishments must be licensed by us.

Apply to open a new establishment, or to renew, transfer or vary a sex shop, sex cinema or sexual entertainment licence:

Return to your application to Licensing Services.

Download the following supporting documents, to assist you in making your application:

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

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

How we process your application

We require time to process and consider your application before it can be granted.

In this case:

  • you can't assume permission will be given
  • we'll contact you within 28 days to acknowledge receipt of your application

You can't act as if your application has been granted if we don't respond within expected timeframes.

If you haven't heard from us within 28 days, please contact us to check the status of your application.

Notice of applications

You must advertise notice of the application in the local newspaper not more than 7 days after the application is made.

You must also display a notice outside the premises in a position where it can be easily read for a period of 21 continuous days to give local residents the opportunity to comment.

We'll contact your at the end of the '28 day objection period' to give you further information about when your application will be determined.

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.

Cost of sex establishment licences

Find out more about sex establishment licence fees.

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

Also see

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