Sex Establishments (sexual entertainment venues)

Any person wishing to run a Sexual Entertainment Venue requires a Licence to do so from us under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

There is a 21 day advertisement requirement, following which we aim to complete this type of application within 28 days.

This service is not covered by the tacit authorisation process as it is in the public interest that we process the application before it can be granted.

There are fees applicable to this process.


Yes; a licence is required for either a sex cinema, a sex shop or a sexual entertainment venue. 

These are defined as “any premises at which relevant entertainment is provided before a live audience for the financial gain of the organiser or the entertainer.” The meaning of ‘relevant entertainment’ is defined as “any live performance or live display of nudity which is of such a nature that, ignoring financial gain, it must reasonably be assumed to be provided solely or principally for the purpose of sexually stimulating any member of an audience (whether by verbal or other means).” An audience can consist of just one person (e.g. where the entertainment takes place in private booths).

The Guidance issued by the Home Office over these matters indicates that whilst local authorities should judge each case on its own merits, it would be expected that the definition of relevant entertainment would apply to the following forms of entertainment as they are commonly understood:

  • Lap dancing 
  • Pole dancing 
  • Table dancing 
  • Strip shows 
  • Peep shows 
  • Live sex shows

The following may at any time, before the expiration of the period of 21 days following receipt of the application’s determination, appeal to the magistrates' court acting for the relevant area:

  1. an applicant for the variation of the terms, conditions or restrictions on or subject to which any such licence is held whose application is refused;
  2. a holder of any such licence who is aggrieved by any term, condition or restriction on or subject to which the licence is held; or,
  3. a holder of any such licence whose licence is revoked.
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