Sex shops and entertainment venues

The following definitions apply. Licence applicants must specify which type of business it wishes to licence.

Sexual entertainment venue

Any premises at which any live performance or live display of nudity is provided. This includes lap dancing, strip shows and similar entertainment.

Sex shop

Any premises used for the business of selling, hiring, exchanging, lending, displaying or demonstrating sex articles, or other things intended for use in connection with sexual activity.

Sex cinema

Any premises used for exhibition of moving pictures which are primarily concerned with portraying sexual activity.

Licence eligibility

Applicants must be:

  • at least 18 years old
  • not disqualified from holding a licence
  • a resident in the UK for at least six months immediately before the application or for corporate bodies, be incorporated in the UK
  • not have been refused a licence for the premises in the last 12 months unless it was reversed on appeal.

How to apply

To apply, applicants should contact our licensing team. 

Phone: 01483 755 855

You must pay the fee for this licence at the time that you make your application. 

You are legally required to advertise notice of your application in the local press and display a notice outside the premises for a specific period of time, giving residents the opportunity to comment by a statutory closing date.

When considering your application, we will look at:

  • your suitability
  • whether you are a ‘front’ for someone else
  • the character of the area
  • relevant representations made.

Inspections and assessments

Officers from our licensing team and the local fire authority will inspect the premises to make sure that technical standards are met.  If works are required to bring the building up to standard we will let you know, and will not issue a licence until all work is satisfactorily completed.

We may carry out further inspections after the licence has been issued to make sure you are complying with the licensing conditions.

Application period

We will contact you within five working days of receiving your application. 

For new applications, we will normally expect to let you know our decision within 60 days of receiving your application. For renewals, as along as there are no objections, we will normally expect to let you know within 30 days.

Tacit consent does not apply in this instance. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before we can grant it. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us.


You can appeal to the Magistrates’ Court against a decision.  This must be done within 21 days from receipt of our notice of refusal.

This applies to:

  • application refusal (new, renewal or variation)
  • conditions attached to a licence
  • revocation of a licence.

The right to appeal does not apply if the refusal was on the grounds that:

  • the number of sex establishments in the areas is more than we consider appropriate
  • it is inappropriate considering the character of the area, the nature of other premises in the area or the premises themselves.

You may also appeal to the Crown Court against a decision of a Magistrates' Court.


Phone: 01483 755 855