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Sex shops, adult cinemas & sexual entertainment venue licence

How to apply for a licence.

Do I need a licence?

To run a sex shop or adult cinema, you must apply to us for a licence.

Sex shop

Any premises, vehicle or vessel or stall used for a business which consists to a significant degree of selling, hiring, exchanging, lending, displaying or demonstrating sex articles or other things intended for use in connection with, or for the purposes of stimulating or encouraging:

  • sexual activity
  • acts of force or restraint which are associated with sexual activity.

Adult cinema

Means any premises, vehicles, vessel or stall used to a significant degree for the exhibition of moving pictures by whatever means provided which are concerned with primarily with the portrayal of, or primarily deal with or relate to, or are intended to stimulate or encourage:

  • sexual activity or
  • are concerned primarily with the portrayal of, or primarily deal with or relate to, genital organs or urinary, or excretory functions, but does not include a dwelling house to which the public is not admitted.

Sexual Entertainment Venue

A sexual entertainment venue is any premises at which relevant entertainment is provided before a live audience for the financial gain of the organiser or the entertainer.  Relevant entertainment means:

  • any live performance; or
  • any live display of nudity

which is of such a nature that, ignoring financial gain, it must reasonably be assumed to be provided solely or principally for the purpose of sexually stimulating any member of the audience (whether by verbal or other means) it includes, but is not limited to, lap dancing, pole dancing, table dancing, strip shows, peep shows and live sex shows.

What legislation applies?

What are the conditions of the license?

You must:

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

You must give public notice of your application by publishing an advertisement in a local newspaper within 7 days of submitting your application.  A notice of your application must also be displayed on the outside of the premises from the date the application is submitted.

Additional conditions may be attached to your licence.

How much will it cost?

The following fees apply to sex shops and cinemas:

  • Initial single licence: £4,580
  • Initial joint licence: £6,870
  • Renewal single licence: £3,680
  • Renewal joint licence: £5,530 
  • Licence transfer: £365

The following fees apply to sexual entertainment venues:

  • Initial licence: £6,870.
  • Renewal licence £5,530

How do I apply?

Apply online

You can apply and pay for your licence online:

Application form

Alternatively, you can download a PDF application form and guidance notes below:

pdf icon Application Form -Sex Establishment License [64kb]
pdf icon Application Form- Sex Establishment Renewal [64kb]
pdf icon Application Form - Sex Establishment Transfer [60kb]

Completed application forms should be returned with the correct fee and documentation to our address below.

Do I need to provide further information or evidence?

Yes. You will be required to produce copies of your newspaper advertisement, premises notice and a declaration that you have complied with our requirements.

How long will it take you to process my application?

We will acknowledge receipt of your application within 5 working days.

If acknowledgement of receipt of your application has not been received within 5 days, contact us.

We will then process your application and tell you the outcome within 12 weeks.

If you do not supply the correct information, documents or fee, your application will be rejected.

Will tacit consent apply?

No, tacit consent will not apply.

This is because it is in the public interest as per social policy that we must process your application before it can be granted.

If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us or if you applied online, through the UK Welcomes service.

How do I tell you about a change that could affect my license?

If circumstances change regarding any detail of your licence, you can notify us in writing at the contact address below.

Contact us

You can enquire at the Civic Centre reception desk (14) from Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 5pm and Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm.

To find out more about sex shop and adult cinema licences, contact us using either our online form or by:

Write:

Licensing
City of Wolverhampton Council
Civic Centre
St Peters Square
Wolverhampton
WV1 1DA