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Licence - Sex Establishments

Sex Establishments are licensed under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

Under the terms of that legislation:

  • A sex establishment can either be a sex shop, a sex cinema or a sexual entertainment venue.
  • A sex shop mean any premises, vehicle, vessel or stall used for a business that consists to a significant degree of selling, hiring, exchanging, lending, displaying or demonstrating sex articles.
  • A sex cinema is any premises used to a significant degree for the showing of films which are concerned primarily with, or relate to, or are intended to stimulate sexual activity.
  • A sexual entertainment venue means any premises at which a live display of nudity or live performance which is intended to stimulate sexual activity, is provided before a live audience for the financial gain of the organiser or entertainer

Certain factors need to be considered when an application for a sex establishment licence is made. These factors will include whether or not the premises are in an appropriate location, for example near a school, a place of worship or family shopping area. All applications must be advertised in the local press. In addition, where the application is in respect of a premises, a notice must be displayed outside the premises.

The licensing of sex establishments is governed by Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. A local Council as Licensing Authority may from time to time, grant or renew a licence for the use of any premises, vehicle, vessel or stall for such purposes on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit.

Applying for a sex establishment licence

You can apply and pay for a Sex Shop/Cinema/Entertainment Venue Licence online, through the Business Link website, by selecting one of the links below:

Alternatively, you can download an application form from Related Downloads which can be printed and returned to us at the address above.

The correct fee must accompany your application - please see  Basildon Council - Schedule of Fees and Charges 2022 - 2023 (PDF) [760KB]  (see page 69) for information on current fees regarding sex establishment licences.

You must submit a copy of your application to the address below within 7 days of submitting an application to the Licensing Team:

Basildon Police Licensing Officer
Basildon Police Station
Great Oaks
SS12 1EJ

Please ensure that you have read the Licensing Policy document before submitting your application. In addition to this, you may need to contact Basildon Council's Planning Department to ascertain whether planning permission is required.

Notices and Certifications

Applicants for a sex establishment licence must give public notice of the application by publishing an advertisement in a local newspaper that is circulated in the local authority area no later than 7 days after the date the application is made:

Please see related downloads section for the Newspaper Advertisement Template and Newspaper Advertisement Certification Form.

Where the application relates to premises, a notice should also be displayed on or near the premises in a place where it can be conveniently read by members of the public. The notice should be displayed for a period of 21 days beginning with the date the application was made:

Please see related downloads section for the Site Notice Template and Site Notice Certification Form

All notices should be in the form prescribed by Basildon Borough Council and identify the premises or, if the application relates to a vehicle, vessel or stall, specify where it will be used as a sex establishment. You must send both Forms of Certification to the Licensing Authority when you submit the application.

Most sexual entertainment venues will require a Premises Licence or Club Premises Certificate granted under the Licensing Act 2003, as well as a sex establishment licence, in order to sell/supply alcohol, provide regulated entertainment, and provide late night refreshment. Visit our Licensing page for more information.

Online applications will be acknowledged by email. Provided your application is correctly made, we will aim to process it within 90 working days. If this is not possible, we will inform you and provide an explanation as to the reason. Tacit consent does not apply to this application because it is considered to be in the public interest for the local authority to process your application before it is granted. If you have not received a response by the end of the target completion period please contact us at the address above.

If you require any further information or have a complaint about this process please contact us, see contact details at bottom of page...

Licences issued under the terms of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

The following information applies to licences issued under the terms of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

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. Please see the relevant section of the Licensing Policy for more information.

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

Your 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.

Offences and Penalties

  • 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.
  • penalties upon conviction can range from £1,000 to £20,000.

Further Information

Copies of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 can be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

A copy of the legislation can be viewed at the Council Offices.