Sex establishment licence

Sex establishments are required to be licensed under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

A sex establishment can either be a sex shop, a sex cinema or a sexual entertainment venue.

A sex shop is a premises used for business which consists to a significant degree of selling sex articles. 

A sex cinema is any premises used to a significant degree for showing of films which are concerned primarily with, or relate to, or are intended to stimulate, sexual activity. 

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 will generally be taken to include:

  • lap dancing
  • pole dancing
  • table dancing
  • strip shows
  • peep shows
  • live sex shows

The law defines the way in which an application is made, which include advertising notice of the application in the local press and displaying a notice outside the premises for a specific time period to give passers by the opportunity to comment by a statutory closing date.

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 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

Applications and payment can be made online using the following link:

Apply online

An applicant for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence under this Schedule shall give public notice of the application.

The applicant must publish a notice advertising the application in a local newspaper within 7 days of making the application.  In addition, notice of the application must be displayed for 21 days, beginning on the day of application, on or near the premises where it can be conveniently read by the public.

An applicant for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence under this Schedule must, not later than 7 days after the date of the application, send a copy of the application to the chief officer of police.

Any person objecting to an application for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence under these provisions must give notice in writing of their objection to the Council, stating in general terms the grounds of the objection, not later than 28 days after the date of the application.

In considering any application for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence the Council will have regard to any observations submitted to them by the chief officer of police and any objections of which notice has been sent to them.

Should any objections be received in relation to an application to the grant, renewal, variation or transfer of a licence, applicants will be given the opportunity to appear before the Licensing Committee.  Any hearing will take place within 20 working days of the day after the day which is the deadline for making objections.  Where the Licensing Committee determine to refuse to grant, renew or transfer the licence, they shall give a written statement of the reasons for their decision.

The licence is valid for one year from date of grant.

Right of appeal

  • any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any condition to which a licence is subject may appeal to the Magistrates Court

  • an appeal against a decision made at the Magistrates Court may be appealed at the Crown Court but the decision of the Crown Court is final.


  • anybody who operates a sex establishment without a licence or fails to comply with licence condition or admits persons under the age of 18 is committing an offence

  • a conviction can result in and up to an unlimited fine

Further information

Copies of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 can be viewed on the following website

A copy of the legislation can be viewed at the Doncaster Council Civic Office, Waterdale, Doncaster, DN1 3BU where an application form and a copy of the standard conditions can be obtained. 

Application fee £2,980.00 (with £740.00 refunded if not granted) 
Renewal fee £2,980.00 (with £740.00 refunded if not granted)
Transfer fee £2,200.00  
Variation fee £2,200.00  

Please see the 'Sexual Entertainment Venue Licensing Policy' document attached to this page.

The Sexual Entertainment Venue Policy Statement sets out the Council’s requirements for premises to be licensed as Sex Establishments within the meaning of Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 (as amended by Section 27 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009).

For further information, please contact us:

Related pages

Licensing Homepage

Premises Licence

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Last updated: 04 April 2022 14:59:15