Sex establishment licensing

Sex establishments are required to be licensed under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

A sex establishment can either be a Sex Shop or a Sex Cinema

A sex shop is a premises used for business which consists to a significant degree of selling sex articles.

A sex cinema is any premises used to a significant degree for showing of films which are concerned primarily with, or relate to, or are intended to stimulate sexual activity.

Eligibility Criteria

An applicant:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must not be disqualified from holding a licence
  • Must have been resident in the UK at least six months immediately before the application or, if a body corporate, must be incorporated in the UK
  • Must not have been refused the grant or renewal of a licence for the premises in question within the last 12 months unless the refusal has been reversed on appeal

A summary of the regulation relating to this licence is available to download.

Application Evaluation Process

Fees will be payable for applications and conditions may be attached.

Applications must be in writing (including by electronic means) and contain any information the local authority requires, as well as the applicant's name, address and, where the applicant is an individual, their age, plus the address of the premises.

Applicants must give public notice of their application by publishing an advertisement in a local newspaper.

Apply online

Failed Application Redress

Any applicant who is refused a licence, or refused the renewal of a licence, may, within 21 days of being notified of the refusal, appeal to the local magistrates' court.

However, the right to appeal does not apply where the licence was refused on the grounds that:

  • The number of sex establishments in the area exceeds the number which the authority consider is appropriate
  • The grant of the licence would be inappropriate considering the character of the area, the nature of other premises in the area, or the premises themselves

Licence Holder Redress

A licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition can appeal to a local magistrates' court.

Other Redress

Any person objecting to an application for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence may give written notice of their objection to the relevant authority, stating the grounds of the objection, within 28 days of the date of the application.