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Apply to run a sex shop  Supply a certificate of compliance

Apply to change a sex shop  surrender a sex shop licence

What does the law require?

You need a licence to use any premises, vehicle, vessel or stall as a sex shop.

"Sex shop" means any premises, vehicle, vessel or stall used for a business which consists to a significant degree of selling, hiring, exchanging, lending, displaying or demonstrating sex articles.  No premises, vehicle, vessel or stall shall be treated as a sex shop by reason
only of its use for the exhibition of moving pictures by whatever means produced.

What do I need to consider?

We shall refuse an application to grant or renew a licence if, in our opinion:

(a) the applicant or any director or partner or any manager, is unsuitable to hold the
licence by reason of having been convicted of an offence or for any other reason;

(b) that, if the licence were to be granted or renewed, the business to which it relates
would be managed by or carried on for the benefit of a person, other than the applicant, who would be refused the grant or renewal of such a licence if he made the application himself;

(c) that the number of sex shops in the relevant locality at the time the application is
made is equal to or exceeds the number which the we consider is appropriate for that locality;

(d) that the grant or renewal of the licence would be inappropriate, having regard:

(i) to the character of the relevant locality; or

(ii) to the use to which any premises in the vicinity are put; or

(iii) to the layout, character or condition of the premises, vehicle, vessel or stall in
respect of which the application is made. 

How will you deal with my application?

You must place a public notice in a local newspaper

If your application relates to an activity wholly or mainly to be carried on in premises, you must display a notice at or near the premises (in such form as we may require) for 21 days
from the date of your application so that it can conveniently be read by the public.

You shall, as soon as possible after the expiry of the period of 21 days referred to above, submit to us a certificate stating that you have complied with this requirement.

We may have to publish details of your application.

All applications for a sex shop licence will be determined by the Licensing Committee.

We will attach conditions to any licence we grant or renew and we may take action to ensure that you comply with those conditions. 

When will a decision be made?

We aim to make a decision on your application within 120 calendar days of you submitting to us all the documentation we require. If it will take longer (for example, due to objections or representations made to us) we will keep you informed of the revised timescale.

What happens if you don't make a decision within the target time?

"Tacit authorisation' does not apply because there is an overriding reason relating to the public interest, namely on the grounds of public policy because sex shop applications will inevitably be contentious. Therefore if you have still not received a decision after the target time has expired, your authorisation is not granted automatically. In such a situation, we will get in touch with you to let you know what happens next.

Please note that you must not carry on the activity for which you have applied for a licence unless or until you have been granted a licence.

What can I do if I'm not satisfied?

If you are unhappy with the way we have processed your application please contact us.

How does the Council handle objections and representations?

Find out more about objections and representations