Sex establishment licence

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.

A licence is required to run a sex shop selling any of the following:

  • Sex toys, books or videos
  • Sex cinema showing explicit films to the public 
  • Live performance or any display of nudity


An applicant:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • 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

Application process

Applicants for a licence must complete the application form and submit a thorough plan of the premises. 

As part of the application process, applicants are required to post an A4 notice at the proposed site for 21 days, from the date the application is lodged with us, setting out the application details. The notice must be posted in a prominent position for the whole of that time and be easily read by passers-by.

Applicants are also required to place a public notice in a local newspaper giving details of the application. The newspaper notice should appear in the publication within 7 days of the application being lodged. A notice templates will be provided on receipt of the application.

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


The fee is £2,293.50


  1. Select Licensing from the "all categories" drop down menu
  2. Select apply
  3. Select Adult Entertainment Venue
  4. Make your payment
  5. You should note the receipt reference as this will be required on the form


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.


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 Manchester 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 Manchester Magistrates' court within 21 days of receipt of the decision.

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 Manchester Magistrates' court. 

How to apply

 You can apply online for a licence:

Apply for a sex establishment licence