Sex establishments

Sex Establishments are required to be licenced under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.  

These establishments can be:

  • sex shops, premises used for business which consist to a significant degree of selling sex articles.
  • sex cinemas, any premises used to a significant degree for showing films which are concerned primarily with, relate to, or are intended to stimulate sexual activity.

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

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

Right of Appeal

Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any condition to which a licence is subject may appeal to the Magistrates' Court. A further appeal may be made to the Crown Court but the decision of the Crown Court is final.

Offences and Penalties

Anybody who operates a sex establishment without a licence, or who fails to comply with licence conditions, or admits persons under the age of 18 is committing an offence.  The penalties for this can range from £1000 to £20000.

Apply for a Licence

For further information regarding the licensing of sex establishments please contact us on 01252 622122 by email to