Sex establishments

There are three types of sex establishment which require licensing.

  • Sex shops, which exclusively or primarily sell items for use in sexual activity or of a sexual nature.
  • Sex cinemas, which exclusively or primarily show films of a sexual nature.
  • Sexual entertainment venues, which offer lap dancing, strip tease, or similar activities.


  • A new licence costs £529 for sex shops and sex cinemas, and £629 for sexual entertainment venues.
  • A variation to a sexual entertainment venue costs £509 for major variations, and £112 for minor variations.


Applications must be submitted using our application form and with payment of the relevant fee. Licences are granted subject to our standard conditions and must be renewed annually. The standard conditions can be found in our policy.


Applications must be advertised in the local newspaper by a newspaper notice and on the premises by a site notice for at least 28 days.

It is in the public interest for us to process your application before granting it. We must make a decision on your application and you cannot assume it has been granted.


Applications may only be rejected for the following reasons:

  • the applicant is unsuitable
  • the applicant is a "front" for someone who is unsuitable
  • the suitability of the location of the premises
  • if the council has set a limit on the number of establishments permitted within the area

Our policy is to only licence one sex shop and one sexual entertainment venue in the town centre and nowhere else.

How to appeal                       

Appeals may be made to the magistrates' court within 21 days against a decision to refuse a licence, or to attach conditions to a licence, except where the refusal is on policy grounds only.

How to object or complain 

Objections must be made within the 28 day consultation period. Please also see objecting to licence applications.

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