Licensing of sex establishments

Download the application form and guidance notes.

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

How to make an Application?

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.

An application will be considered by our Licensing Committee on the next available date.

Criteria to be considered by us.

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

Your 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. An appeal against a decision made at the Magistrates' Court may be appealed at 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 fails to comply with licence condition or admits persons under the age of 18 is committing an offence. Penalties upon conviction can range from £1,000 to £20,000.

Copies of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1963 can be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationery Office.


The fee for the grant of a Sex Establishment Licence is £2005.00 (cheques payable to Borough of Pendle).

We now have more authority to regulate Lap Dancing Clubs and other similar venues.

A category of premises called a "Sexual Entertainment Venue" has been created.

What is a Sexual Entertainment Venue?

A Sexual Entertainment Venue is defined as "any premises at which relevant entertainment is provided before a live audience for the financial gain of the organiser or the entertainer."

What is relevant entertainment?

Relevant entertainment is defined as any live performance or live display of nudity provided for the purpose of sexually stimulating any member of the audience (whether by verbal or other means).

What can we do?

We now have wider grounds to refuse an application for a Sexual Entertainment Venue than before.

Local people will also be able to have a greater say over the regulation of lap dancing clubs and similar venues in their area.