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Sex Establishment Licences

Sex Establishments are required to be licensed under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

A Sex Establishment can be a Sex Shop, Sex Cinema or a Sexual Entertainment Venue.

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 simulate sexual activity.

A Sexual Entertainment Venue is defined as any premises at which relevant entertainment is provided before a live audience for financial gain.  The meaning of relevant entertainment is any live performance or live display of nudity for the purpose of sexually stimulating an audience.

The law defines the way in which an application is made, which include advertising a notice of the application in the local press and displaying a notice outside the premises for a specific time period to give passers by the opportunity to comment by a statutory closing date.

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 establishment in that locality is equal to, or exceeds the number which the Council considers appropriate for the area.

Your Right To Appeal

Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any condition to which a licence is subject may appeal to the Magistrates Court. An appeal against a decision made at the Magistrates Court may be appealed at the Crown Court but the decision of the Crown Court is final.

Offences And Penalties

Anybody who operates a Sex Establishment without a licence or fails to comply with licence conditions or admits persons under the age of 18 is committing an offence. Penalties upon conviction can range from £1,000 to £20,000.

Further Information

Copies of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1963 can be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

A copy of the legislation can be viewed at the Council Offices where you can also obtain an application form and a copy of our standard conditions.

Contact Details:

Licensing Services
New Forest District Council
Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
SO43 7PA

Tel No: 023 8028 5505


Alternatively you may apply online on the Businesslink website.

Any notification of changes can be made using our Notification of Change form.

Updated: 8 Apr 2015
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