Sex Establishment Licence


To operate a sex establishment you need a licence from the local authority.


A sex establishment means a:

  • Sexual Entertainment Venue – any premises at which any live performance or live display of nudity is provided.  Lap dancing, strip shows and similar entertainment falls under this definition; or
  • Sex Shop – any premises used for a business which consists, to a significant degree, of selling, hiring, exchanging, lending, displaying or demonstrating sex articles or other items intended for use in connection with sexual activity; or
  • Sex Cinema – any premises used, to a significant degree, for the exhibition of films which are concerned primarily with, or relate to, the portrayal of sexual activity.

 If you wish to make any amendments to an existing licence you must submit an application to vary the licence.



  • £1300 - Application fee to be charged at time of application
  • £195 - Maintenance fee to be charged prior to issue


  • £84 - Application fee to be charged at time of application
  • £84 - Maintenance fee to be charged prior to issue

How to make a payment


Unless a shorter period is specifically stated, all licences will be granted for one year and renewed annually.

Eligibility Criteria 

An applicant:

  • must be at least 18 years old; and
  • must not be disqualified from holding a licence; and
  • 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.


Applications must be in writing (including by electronic means) and must include:

  • the applicant's name, address and, where the applicant is an individual, their age, plus the address of the premises; and
  • a site plan; and
  • the fee.

Applicants must also:

  • give public notice of their application by placing an advertisement in a local newspaper, which must be published no later than 7 days from the date the application is made; and
  • send a copy of the application to the Chief Officer of Police no later than 7 days of the date of application; and
  • display a notice outside the premises for 21 days.

Application Form

An online application form is currently being developed.

Renewal forms will be sent automatically to licensees before their current licence expires.


On receipt of a valid application we will consult with:

  • Police
  • Environmental Health
  • Trading Standards
  • Ward Councillors


Anyone wishing to make an objection to an application must give written notice of their objection to Licensing Services, stating the grounds of the objection, within 28 days of the date of the application.


We must allow 28 days for objections to be made.  If any objections are received, the application will be referred to the Council’s Licensing Committee for determination.

When considering an application for a sex establishment licence we will take into account:

  • the suitability of the applicant;
  • whether the applicant 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 establishments in that locality is equal to, or exceeds, the number which the Council considers appropriate for the area.

There is no statutory period for determining applications; however, we aim to determine applications within 60 days.


Licences are subject to a set of standard conditions.

The Council may also add conditions specific to your establishment if it considers it necessary.

Tacit Consent 

Tacit consent applies.  This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the 60 day target completion period.

Right of Appeal 

Please contact Licensing Services in the first instance.

If you wish to appeal a Council decision, you can apply to Bath Magistrates’ Court within 21 days of being notified of the decision.  A decision of the Magistrates’ Court can be appealed to the Crown Court.

However, the right to appeal does not apply if the licence was refused on the grounds that:

  • the number of sex establishments in the area exceeds the number which the authority considers appropriate; or
  • 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.

Customer Complaints 

If you have a complaint about a trader, we would advise you first to contact the trader – preferably by letter with proof of delivery.  If that is unsuccessful and you are in the UK, the Citizens Advice Bureau will assist you.  If you are outside of the UK, contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

If you believe a sex establishment does not have a licence or is operating in breach of its licence, please contact Licensing Services.


Sexual Entertainment Venues Policy

Please contact Licensing Services for further guidance.

Relevant Legislation 

Trade Associations 


Further Information 

For further information and guidance please phone Licensing Services on 01225 477531 or email

Additional contact details.

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