Licensing Sex Establishments
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Sex Establishments are required to be licensed under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.
A sex establishment can be a Sex Shop or a Sex Cinema. In addition the Policing and Crime Act 2009 came into force on 6th April 2010 and this makes provision for Local Authorities to control the licensing of Sexual Entertainment Venues.
To run a sex shop - i.e. any premises selling sex toys, books or videos - you may need a licence from the local authority. To run a venue where explicit films are shown to members of the public, you also need a licence from the local authority.
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 suitability of the premises;
- Whether the number of sex establishments in that locality is equal to, or exceeds the number which the Council considers appropriate for the area.
In addition an applicant:
- Must be at least 18 years old;
- Must not be disqualified from holding a licence;
- 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.
The law defines the way in which an application is made, which include:
- Advertising notice of the application in a local newspaper, circulating within Birmingham, no later than 7 days after the date of your application. A copy of the notice should be attached to the application;
- Displaying a notice continuously, for a period of 21 days beginning with the date of your application on or near the premises and in a place where the notice may conveniently be read at all times by the public passing by.
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.
The Birmingham City Council Sex Establishment Application Form is attached at the bottom of this page.
Once you have completed the application it can be submitted to the Licensing Section by a variety of means:
Online - If you are applying from within a European Member State you can apply on the Government GOV.UK website using the following link
Apply online for a Sex Shop and Cinema Licence
By Email - Completed applications can be submitted electronically by attaching the completed form and any associated supporting documents to the email@example.com email address.
(Please note that electronic applications submitted by email can only be accepted if there is a scanned signature on the application form).
On receipt of your application by email a Licensing Officer will contact the applicant to acquire payment of the appropriate fee via a debit or credit card.
By Post - Send completed applications to the address as indicated on our contact us page.
Postal applications must be accompanied by a cheque or postal order for the appropriate fee (see - Fees & Charges Schedule) and made payable to 'Birmingham City Council'.
In Person - applications can be submitted in person at the address and during the times shown on our contact us page.
Please check the Fees & Charges Schedule page for details of the cost of your application.
Our target for dealing with applications is 28 days. However all applications should be determined within 60 days of receipt of all the information necessary to determine the application.
Tacit Consent - Grounds for Refusal
Tacit consent means that if we have not dealt with applications within the target period then the application can be deemed to have been granted/approved.
Please note that tacit consent does not apply in respect of this application. 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 contact us. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes Service or use the contact us page.
For further advice and guidance please contact the General Licensing Team - see contact us page.
Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982
We retain details of Sex Establishment Licences which have been granted, for further information contact the General Licensing Team - see contact us page.
Contact the General Licensing Team - see contact us page.
We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice Bureau will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.