Sex shop guidance
Do I need a licence?
Sex Establishments are required to be licensed under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 and Sexual Entertainment venues are required to be licensed under the Policing and Crime Act 2009.
When considering an application for a sex establishment licence we may only consider the following criteria;
- the suitability of the applicant.
- the location and situation of the premises in relation to other premises in the vicinity.
- whether the number of sex establishments in that locality is equal to, or exceeds the number which we consider appropriate for the area.
See the sex establishment regulations for more details.
Types of licence
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.
A sex shop is a premises used for business which consists to a significant degree of selling sex articles.
Sexual entertainment venue
A sexual entertainment venue is defined as ‘any premises at which relevant entertainment is provided before a live audience for the financial gain of the organiser or the entertainer’. Relevant entertainment applies to lap dancing, pole dancing, table dancing, strip shows, peep shows, live sex shows or variations of these. Ultimately, decisions to licence premises as sexual entertainment venues shall depend on the content of the entertainment provided and not the name it is given.
How long does a licence last for?
A sex shop licence lasts for 12 months.
Fines and penalties
If you fail to display a copy of your licence and licence conditions in your premises, you could be fined up to £1,000.
You could be fined up to £20,000, if you do not adhere to the conditions of your licence, or run a sex shop or cinema without a licence.
The Licensing Team is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy when you use our services.
Please view Licensing Team Privacy Notices for further information. Printed copies are available on request.