Sex Establishments

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

The law defines the way in which an application is made, which includes advertising notice of the application in the local press and displaying a notice outside the premises for a specific time period to give passers by the opportunity to comment by a statutory closing date.

Sex Establishment Policy

The Sex Establishment Policy was adopted by the Licensing and General Purposes Committee at a meeting held on 6 December 2010. The policy will be used by the licensing authority to assist in the determination of applications for a sex establishment. The Policy can be viewed here.

Council duties

When considering an application for a sex establishment licence the Council may only use the following criteria:
  • the suitability of the applicant
  • whether the person applying is a 'front' person for someone else
  • the location and situation of the premises in relation to other premises in the area
  • whether the number of sex establishments in that locality is equal to, or exceeds the number which the Council considers appropriate for the area.
The local authority can impose conditions on the licence

Apply for a Licence

Applications can be made on line on the Council’s website


A fee must be paid at the time an application is made. The fee covers the cost of administration, inspection and enforcement activity.

Public Register

The public register of existing licences/consents/permits/registrations can be viewed on the Council’s website

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Page last updated on: 09/02/2011