Sex establishment licences

Apply for a licence for a sex establishment under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

Types of sex establishment

There are three types of licensable sex establishment.

  • Sex shop: A sex shop is any premises, vehicle or or stall used for a business which consists to a significant degree of selling, hiring, exchanging, lending, displaying or demonstrating sex articles or other things intended for use in connection with or to encourage sexual activity or acts of force or restraint which are associated with sexual activity
  • Sex cinema: A sex cinema is any premises, vehicle or stall used to a significant degree for the exhibition of moving pictures concerned primarily with the portrayal of or are intended to stimulate or encourage sexual activity or are concerned primarily with the portrayal of genital organs or urinary, or excretory functions.
  • Sexual entertainment venue: any premises at which relevant entertainment is provided before a live audience. Relevant entertainment means any live performance or any live display of nudity which is of such a nature that, ignoring financial gain, it must reasonably be assumed to be provided solely or principally for the purpose of sexually stimulating any member of the audience (whether by verbal or other means).


Application typeFee
Application fee £4,300
Renewal £4,300
Transfer £4,300

Apply for a sex establishment licence

To apply for a licence for any of the above sex establishment you must:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • not be disqualified from holding a sex establishment licence
  • have been resident in the UK at least six months immediately before the application or, if a corporate body, must be incorporated in the UK
  • 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

Please complete the following steps to apply for a licence:

We must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us.

Due to maintenance work, this application form is temporarily unavailable. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Appeal or vary a licence

Should your application be refused, you have a right of appeal to the Magistrates' Court within 21 days of the decision. 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 we 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.
Due to maintenance work, this application form is temporarily unavailable. We apologise for any inconvenience.