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Environmental Health Licences

Sex Establishments

Licence Summary

To run a sex shop or a venue where explicit films are shown to members of the public, you may need a licence from us.

We would strongly advise you to get some pre-application advice from a Licensing Officer prior to submitting an application as local policies set limits on how many of these establishments will be allowed in an area.

Please contact us to arrange an officer referral.

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

Regulation Summary

A summary of the eligibility criteria for this licence

Application Evaluation Process

An application fee is payable on a new application and also upon renewal of an existing licence. See the fee schedule for details. Conditions may be attached to the licence.

Applications must contain all required information, including 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 and 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.

Does tacit consent apply if I haven't heard anything after 28 days?

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 local authority within a reasonable period, please get in touch. You can do this online here if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details below.

Apply Online

Apply for a licence for a sex establishment

Tell us about a change to your existing sex establishment licence

Apply By Post

Sex Establishments - Licence

Failed Application Redress

Please contact us in the first instance.

Any applicant who is refused a licence, or refused the renewal of a licence, may, within 21 days of being notified of the refusal, appeal to the local magistrates' court. Please see address below:

Northamptonshire Magistrates Court
Regents Pavilion
Summerhouse Road
Moulton Park
Northampton NN3 6BJ

Tel:01604 497000

Please note the right to appeal does not apply where the licence was refused (or revoked) on the grounds that:  

  • the number of sex establishments in the area exceeds the number which the authority consider is appropriate
  • the grant of the licence would be inappropriate considering the character of the area, the nature of other premises in the area, or the premises themselves

Licence Holder Redress

Please contact us in the first instance.

A licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition can appeal to a local magistrates' court. See above address.

Consumer Complaint

If you are not satisfied with the service you should complain to the person or service who first dealt with the matter. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive at this stage you should then complain via the formal complaints procedure for your authority which is available on the authority website.

You should receive a reply within 10 days, but if the matter is complex, or if other organisations need to be contacted, it may take longer. But you will be told what action is being taken. You should give all the details of your complaint and say what you have done to try to get it put right.

If you are still not happy after using this complaints procedure you can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Other Redress

Any person objecting to an application for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence may give written notice of their objection to the relevant authority, stating the grounds of the objection, within 28 days of the date of the application.

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