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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk



Licensing Sex Establishments

This page can be referred to as

Licence Summary
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.

Eligibility Criteria
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 establisments 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.

Guidance and Advice
For further advice and guidance please contact the Licensing Section - see contact details below.

Regulations:- Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982

Application Process
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 applicationon or near the premises and in a place where the notice may conveniently be read at all times by the public passing by.

Application Form
The Birmingham City Council Sex Establishment Application Form is attached at the bottom of this page.

Once you have completed the application form it can be submitted to the Licensing Section by a variety of means:

By Post - send completed applications to the address as indicated in the contact details below.
Postal applications must be accompanied by a cheque or postal order for the appropriate fee (see below) and made payable to 'Birmingham City Council'.

In Person - applications can be submitted in person at the address and during the times shown below under contact details.

By Email - completed applications can be submitted electronically by attaching the completed form and any associated supporting documents to the Licensing Section email address as indicated in the contact details below.
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.

Online - alternatively if you are applying from within a European Member State you can apply on the business link website using the following link – Apply online for a Sex Shop and Cinema Licence

Please check our Licence Fees page for details of the cost of your application.

Processing Timescale
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 it. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details below.

Complaints / Enquiries
Contact the Licensing Section - see contact details below.

Consumer Complaints
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, Adviceguide will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Making Representations
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.

Trade Associations

Public Register
We retain details of Sex Establishment Licences which have been granted, for further information contact the Licensing Section - see contact details below.

Licensing Section,
Crystal Court,
Aston Cross Business Park,
50 Rocky Lane,
B6 5RQ
(Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 9am - 4pm
Wednesday: 10am - 4pm, Friday: 9am - 3.30pm)

Telephone: 0121 303 9896
Fax: 0121 303 9982
e-mail: licensing@birmingham.gov.uk