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Sex establishment licence

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Sex establishment licence

What is a sex establishment licence

To operate a sex establishment you need a licence from us.

A sex establishment means a sexual entertainment venue, a sex shop or a sex cinema.

A sexual entertainment venue is any premises at which any live performance or live display of nudity is provided - lap dancing, strip shows and similar entertainment fall under this definition.

A sex shop means any premises used for a business which consists of selling, hiring, exchanging, lending, displaying or demonstrating sex articles or other things intended for use in connection with sexual activity.

A sex cinema is defined as any premises used for the exhibition of moving pictures, which are concerned primarily with the portrayal of sexual activity.

Who can apply?

An applicant can be an individual, a company or a partnership.

If the applicant is an individual or a partnership, that person(s):

  • must be at least 18 years old 
  • must not be disqualified from holding a licence for a sex establishment
  • must be resident in a European Economic Area state at least six months immediately before the application is made
  • 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 
  • must declare any spent or unspent convictions

If the applicant is a corporate company, that company: 

  • must be incorporated in a European Economic Area state 
  • must declare whether persons involved in the company have any spent or unspent convictions


Sexual entertainment venues

New application: £10,000 (£2670 refundable if refused)

Renewal application with variation: £10,000 (£2670 refundable if refused)

Renewal application without variation: £6960 (£2670 refundable if refused)

Variation application: £5190

Transfer: £230

Replacement licence: £20

Changes of details: £40

Sex shops and sex cinemas

New application

There is an application fee of £10,452.86 which must be paid at the time the application is made.

If, we refuse your application we will refund £6,162.37.

Renewal application

There is an application fee of £10,443.30 which must be paid at the time the application is made.

If, we refuse your application we will refund £6,162.37.

Apply for a sex establishment licence

Before applying please view our sex establishment policy

You must complete both parts of the application, part 1 and part 2. 

New applications and changing an existing licence

apply for or change a sex establishment licence part 1

apply for or change a sex establishment licence part 2

Please email completed applications to us at [email protected] 

What happens after you apply

New licences and changes to an existing licence

We will aim to process your application or change 56 working days from the date a valid application is received.

If your application is not processed within this time it will not be deemed granted. 

Complaints and appeal

Any appeal to the Magistrates’ Court must be made within 21 days from the date on which the person is notified of the decision or became aware of the condition. 

Where the licensing panel have given an oral decisions with reasons at the end of a hearing, the time limit for lodging an appeal will start on that date.

If you have a complaint about your application, contact us on 020 7974 4444 or email [email protected].

Comment on a Sexual Entertainment Venue (SEV) licence application

All representations should be made online, where they will be processed according to the relevant legislation.

Any queries should be directed to the Licensing Team on 020 7974 4444.

Making a representation

Commenting on a licensing application is known as ‘making a representation’. You can comment on SEV licence applications for:

  • New licence
  • Renewal of licence
  • Variation of licence
  • Transfer of licence

You can write in support of, or in opposition to licence applications. Representations to SEVs licence applications must be made in writing to the licensing authority within 28 days of the application having been lodged. Representations can be written in general terms, but consideration should be given to the reasons upon which the granting of the licence would be inappropriate. 

These reasons include the grant not being appropriate of a licence in relation to the following:

  • In considering the character of the local area
  • With regards the use and type of other venues in the local area
  • When bearing in mind the layout, character or condition of the venue for which the application is made

Please note we are unable to accept moral objections to the operation of SEV licensed premises.

All representations made to SEV licence applications are made anonymous by default. The licensing authority shall pass no personal details to the applicant or put those details into the public domain without explicit consent of the individual making the representation.  For those who wish to remain anonymous, no further action is required to ensure this anonymity remains in place. 

All representations should be emailed to the licensing authority at: [email protected].