Sex shop licence

A sex establishment can either be a sex shop or a sex cinema. A sex shop is a premises used for business which consists to a significant degree of selling sex articles. A sex cinema is any premises used to a significant degree for showing of films which are concerned primarily with, or relate to, or are intended to stimulate sexual activity.

Who can apply

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.

How to apply

Please contact us to discuss the application and to obtain an application form.
Alternatively please apply online.

Please note that you will need to advertise notice of the application in the local press and also by displaying a notice outside the premises for a specific time period to give passers by the opportunity to comment by a statutory closing date.

How the decision will be made

When considering an application for a sex establishment licence the Council 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 the Council considers appropriate for the area.

The local authority can impose conditions on the licence.

Please read our policy (PDF, 320 KB)


Licensing Team
2 Bristol Avenue 

Tel: 020 8359 7443