Sex shops

Information about the licensing and regulation of sex shops.

A sex establishment is any premises, vehicle or stall used as a business to sell, hire, exchange, lend, display or demonstrate a 'significant degree' of sex articles or activity.

It does not apply to premises selling birth control products or a very limited quantity of sexual material.

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 regulates sex establishments.

How to apply for a sex shop licence

You can apply online for a licence using the GOV.UK website.

Apply online - Apply for a sex establishment licence

To do this you will need to use Adobe Reader 8.1 or above.  Download the latest version of Adobe Reader.

Or you can download the application form below, complete it and return it to us.

pdf icon Application form - sex establishment licence [30kb]

Advertise your application

You must put up a notice of your application outside your premises, so that people in the street can easily read it. This notice must be displayed for at least 21 days.

pdf icon Sex establishment licence notice of application [6kb]

You must advertise your application in a local newspaper, circulating within Rushmoor, within seven days. The form of the notice is:
pdf icon Sex establishment newspaper advertisement format [7kb]

You must send us a complete copy of the newspaper in which the advertisement has been inserted.

Cost of a licence

  • Initial application £6925
  • Application to transfer a licence £6925
  • Renewal of a licence £3200

Inspections and assessment

We will visit your premises before we issue a licence.

We cannot grant or renew a licence unless we are satisfied that:

  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You have never been disqualified from holding a licence
  • You have not been refused an application or renewal within the last 12 months
  • You are recognised and incorporated in the UK (if a corporate body)
  • You are suitable to hold the licence
  • The location is appropriate

If we grant a licence, it will be subject to conditions to regulate, among other things, the days and hours of trading and any shop frontage.

What happens once we receive your application

Your application is open to objections from local residents, businesses and the police for a period of 28 days. If we receive objections our licensing committee may consider your application. We will tell you if we receive objections.

How to appeal our decision

Contact us first. We may be able to help.

You can appeal within 21 days of us telling you that we have refused your application for a licence.

You cannot appeal if the grounds for refusal are:

  • There are too many sex shops in an area
  • The new shop would have a negative impact on the character of the area, and other premises

How to renew your licence

A licence is valid for one year and you must apply for renewal.

How to tell us of changes

You can apply online for a licence using the GOV.UK website.

Apply online - change details of your sex establishment licence

Offences and penalties

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

Penalties upon conviction can range from £1000 to £20,000.

Customer complaints

If you have a complaint against a sex shop, we advise you contact them by letter (with proof of delivery) or contact us using the contact details on the right.

In addition if you are in the UK, Citizens Advice will give you advice. For outside the UK, contact the UK European Consumer Centre

Object to an application

If you want to object to an application for a licence, a renewal or transfer of a licence, you can write to or email us with your objections within 28 days of the date of the application.

 
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