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Apply for a licence for a sex establishment

A sex establishment can either be a sex shop or a sex cinema and is legally required to be licensed.

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 an application is made. It 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.

When considering an application for a sex establishment licence, we 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 we consider appropriate for the area.

A notice must be displayed continuously for 21 days on or near the premises to be licensed, from the date of the application. The notice must be placed in such a manner that it can conveniently be read by the public. Contact us for more information.


Safer Communities Service (Licensing)

Licensing Team, 9 Holbeach Road, SE6 4TW
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