To run a sex shop - ie any premises selling sex toys, books or videos - you may need a licence from the Local Authority.
You will also need a licence to run a venue where explicit films are shown to members of the public.
However, you may apply to the Local Authority requesting them to waive the requirement of a licence.
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must not be disqualified from holding a licence
- Must have been resident in the UK at least six months immediately before the application or, if a body corporate, must be incorporated in the UK
- Must 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
Application fee and evaluation process
The application fee for Sex Establishments is £6,300. The fee to renew or transfer a Sex Establishment is £5,250.
For new applications only, applicants may pay 5% less when making an application. If you do, you would then be invoiced for this amount plus £20 for the additional administration cost, when the licence has been issued.
Applications must contain any information the Local Authority requires, as well as the applicant's name, address and, where the applicant is an individual, their age, plus the address of the premises.
Applicants must give public notice of their application by publishing an advertisement in a local newspaper.
Tacit consent does not apply to Sex Establishments.
It is in the public interest that we process your application before it can be granted.
If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us. You can do this online if you applied the gov.uk website or use the contact details below.
How to apply
You can apply for an Sex Establishment Licence in two ways:
- By downloading our Sex Establishment Application Form [8kb] and returning it to us with the fee at the address below.
- Because this Licence is covered by the EU Services Directive, you can also apply online through the gov.uk website. Apply Online for a Sex Establishment Licence
Failed application redress
Any applicant who is refused a licence, or refused the renewal of a licence, may, within 21 days of being notified of the refusal, appeal to the local magistrates' court.
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 the authority 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
Licence holder redress
Please contact us in the first instance.
Any licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition attached to their licence can appeal to their local Magistrates' court.
We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked gov.uk can offer advice on Consumer Protection Rights.