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Sex Shop Licence

To run a sex shop - ie any premises selling sex toys, books or videos - you may need a licence from us. To run a venue where explicit films are shown to members of the public, you also need a licence from us. 

However, you may apply to us to requesting that we waive the requirement of a licence.

For more information please read our Guidance Notes (PDF).

Eligibility Criteria

An applicant:

  • must be at least 18 years old must not be disqualified from holding a licence
  • must have been resident in the UK at least six months immediately before the application or, if a body corporate, must be incorporated in the UK
  • 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.


Fees will be payable for applications and conditions may be attached.

Applications must contain any information the local authority requires, as well as the applicant's name, address and, where the applicant is an individual, their age, plus the address of the premises.

Applicants must give public notice of their application by publishing an advertisement in a local newspaper.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

Tacit consent does not apply to an application for a new sex establishment licence as local residents and the Police have a legitimate interest in the outcome of sex establishment applications. If an application is not processed within a defined period of time it will not be deemed granted.

This is to minimise the risk of a licence for a sex establishment premises being approved inadvertently and subsequently resulting in crime and disorder, remove the protection of harm from children or cause an adverse cumulative impact in the vicinity of the proposed premises.

If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us.

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