If you wish to operate a sex shop, sex cinema or sexual entertainment venue, you will need to apply for a Sex Establishment Licence.
Who can apply ?
Any of the following may apply for a Sex Establishment licence:
- a corporate body which is incorporated in the United Kingdom
- a person over the age of 18 who is resident in the United Kingdom
A licence cannot be granted to
- a person or company who has had a sex establishment licence revoked by the Council in the preceding 12 months,
- a person or company who has been refused a sex establishment licence in the preceding 12 months, unless the refusal has been reversed on appeal,
- a person who is not resident, or who has not been resident, in the United Kingdom for at least 6 months preceding the date of application.
See the regulations for sex establishment licences for further information
Applications must be submitted on the forms provided by the Council, include any information and documentation which the Council requires, and be accompanied by the relevant fee. The Council's Rules Governing Applications gives further details of the application process and documents which need to be submitted.
Applicants will be required to advertise their application by means of a notice displayed at the premises for 21 consecutive days and by publishing notice of the application in a local newspaper within 7 days of making the application. Applicants should contact the licensing team prior to submitting their application for the public notice template.
If applying by post applicants will also need to give notice of their application to the police at the following address: Police Licensing Office, c/o Council Offices, 37 Pembroke Road, London W8 6PW
Will Tacit Consent apply?
No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the licensing authority within a reasonable period, please email the licensing team.
- Standard Conditions for Sex Establishments [PDF] (file size 37Kb)
- Limited company details for sex establishment [PDF] (file size 34Kb)
- Newspaper advert form for the grant of a sex establishment [PDF file] (file size 23Kb)
- Newspaper advert for renewal of a sex establishment [PDF] (file size 23Kb)
- Newspaper advert for a variation of a sex establishment [PDF] (file size 24Kb)
Failed application redress
If an application for a licence is refused the applicant can appeal to Westminster Magistrates' Court, 181 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5BR within 21 days of notice of the decision. Magistrates' Court decisions can be appealed to the Crown Court.
Licence holder redress
Any licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition attached to their licence can appeal to Westminster Magistrates' Court, 181 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5BR within 21 days of notice of the decision. Magistrates' Court decisions can be appealed to the Crown Court.
We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice Bureau will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.
The council operates a complaints procedure. To view the complaints procedure or to make a complaint relating to the service you have received please see comments, complaints and feedback.
If your complaint relates to an existing licensed premises or a premises is suspected of operating without the required permission please contact the Council's Licensing Team on 020 7341 5152 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.