Sex establishment licence

To run a sex shop in Trafford, that is, any premises selling sex toys, books or videos - you may need a licence from Trafford Council. To run a venue where explicit films are shown to members of the public, you may also need a licence from Trafford Council.

On the 1 December 2010 the Council adopted Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 as amended by Section 27 of the Police and Crime Act 2009. This amendment allows the Council to regulate sexual entertainment venues, as well as sex shops and sex cinemas. The provisions of Schedule 3 (as amended) will come into effect on the 1 March 2011.

From the 1 March 2011 any premises that wish to provide any live performance or any display of nudity may also need a licence from Trafford Council.

Who is eligible?

An applicant:

  • must be at least 18 years old
  • must not be disqualified from holding a licence
  • must have been resident in the UK at least six months immediately before the application or, if a Corporate body, must be incorporated in the UK
  • 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

Regulation summary

Application process

Applications must be on the prescribed form and accompanied by the appropriate fee.

You will be required to give public notice of your application by publishing a notice in a local newspaper. The notice should appear no later than 7 days after the date of the application.

In addition, you will be required to display a notice on or near the premises for 21 days beginning on the date of the application which can be conveniently read by the public.

When considering an application for a sex establishment licence the Council may consider the following criteria:

Apply online

Transitional Period - Sex Establishment Venues

Existing and new premises that wish to provide lap dancing, striptease etc. will be required to apply for a new Sex Establishment Licence.

The transitional period will be for 12 months starting on the 1 March 2010 (the first appointed day) which is the day the new provisions relating to sexual entertainment venues come into effect. For the first six months of the transitional period applications may be submitted to the Council, although no licences will be granted. At the end of the six months period (1 September 2011) the Council will consider all applications received. Applications received after the 1 September 2011 will be dealt with on receipt.

Licences granted to new applicants will take effect immediately, whilst those granted to existing operators would take effect at the end of the 12 months period (1 March 2012).

Existing operators who do not apply or who are not granted a Sex Establishment Licence may continue to provide relevant entertainment until the 28 February 2012 after which date, if they continue to provide relevant entertainment they will be operating unlawfully.

Advertising the application

Applications for sex establishment licences must be advertised in one of the following local newspapers:


There is an application fee which must be paid at the time an application is made. Full details are available on our fees and charges page.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us using the details at the bottom of the page.

Where tacit consent is applicable, it will only apply for licences / registrations that are submitted electronically or the business can show proof of delivery from a post office or recognised courier.

What if the application/variation is refused?

Please contact us in the first instance, using the details supplied at the bottom of the page.

If your application is refused, or we refuse to renew your licence, you may, within 21 days of being notified of the refusal, appeal to Trafford Magistrates' court.

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

  • the number of sex establishments in the area exceeds the number which the authority consider is appropriate
  • 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

If you hold a licence and you wish to appeal against a condition attached to the licence you can appeal to Trafford Magistrates' court within 21 days of receipt of the decision.

You may at any time apply to us for a variation of the terms, conditions or restrictions on your licence.

If an application for a variation is refused, or if the licence is revoked, you may, within 21 days of being notified of the imposition of, or the refusal to vary, the term, condition or restriction in question, or of the revocation, appeal to Trafford Magistrates' court.

You may also appeal to the crown court against a decision of a magistrates' court.

How do I complain?

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the service provider by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Advice Guide will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other redress

Any person objecting to an application for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence may give written notice of their objection to us, stating the grounds of the objection, within 28 days of the date of the application.

This authority is under a duty to protect the public funds it administers, and to this end may use the information you have provided to us for the prevention and detection of fraud. It may also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds for these purposes. For further information on data matching to prevent and detect fraud and corruption see the Council's Level 2 National Fraud Initiative Privacy Notice. For further information you can also refer to Trafford Council’s own Privacy Notices.