Licensing of sex establishments

Download the Sex Establishment application form and guidance notes.

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

How to make an application

The law sets out how an application is made. This 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.

Applications are considered by our Licensing Committee.

Criteria we have to consider

When looking at applications for sex establishment licences, we can 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

If your licence application is refused, or is approved but with a condition you don't agree with, you can 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.

How to pay?

Sexual Entertainment Venues

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. This 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'.

Relevant entertainment means 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).

Regulating Sexual Entertainment Venues

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

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