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

A ‘sex establishment’ is defined under Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 the Act as:

  • a ‘sex shop’,
  • a ‘sex cinema’
  • a ‘sexual entertainment venue’.

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 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?

Please refer to the relevant application

How do I apply?

Download and complete the application form and return it with the correct fee and documentation to the postal or email address below.

Payment can be made by cheque, postal order or you can request that payment be taken over the phone or by bank transfer.

What if I have a complaint or concern?

If you have a complaint or concern, contact us.

Contact Us

Please contact Licensing, providing as much information as you can to enable us to respond as quickly as possible.

Or write to:

Licensing Services
City of Wolverhampton Council
Civic Centre
St Peters Square