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Sexual entertainment venue licences

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The power to licence sex establishments is conferred in Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 as amended by Section 27 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009

A licence is required to run a sexual entertainment venue.

What is defined as a sexual entertainment venue

A sexual entertainment venue is defined as any premises at which any live performance or live display of nudity is provided, which is of such a nature that it must be reasonably assumed to be provided solely or principally for the purpose of sexually stimulating any member of the audience. (whether by verbal or other means).

An audience can consist of just one person (for example where the entertainment takes place in private booths).

This definition includes:

  • Lap dancing 
  • Pole dancing 
  • Table dancing 
  • Strip shows 
  • Peep shows 
  • Live sex shows

Sexual Entertainment Venue Licence will not generally be deemed to be appropriate if the premises is near or in locations or areas containing any of the following:

  • Historic buildings or tourist attractions
  • Schools, play areas, nurseries, children's centres or similar premises
  • Shopping complexes
  • Residential areas
  • Places of Worship

There is an exemption for premises which provide such entertainment less frequently than once a month.

The Home Office provide a Icon for pdf guidance document on Sexual Entertainment Venues [187.39KB], which can be downloaded here. 

Sex cinema or sex shop

If you run a sex cinema or sex shop, you may need the following licence from us:

Apply for a sex shop and cinema licence

How to apply for a Sexual Entertainment Venue licence

You can apply by completing our online form.

Apply for a Sexual Entertainment Venue licence

You can also apply by downloading and completing the Icon for pdf Sexual Entertainment Venue application for the grant of a new licence form [76.21KB] and return with the correct fee to:

Licensing Services, Environmental Health, Town Hall, Lancaster Road, Preston,PR1 2RL. Alternatively you can email with your completed form.

Applicants for a sex establishment licence must give public notice of the application by publishing an Icon for pdf advertisement in a local newspaper [25.72KB] (please view an example advertisement) that is circulated in the local authority area no later than seven days after the date the application is made.

You must also download, complete and display a Icon for pdf form of certificate for the site advertisement [26.06KB] and a Icon for pdf Statutory declaration sheet [87.73KB].

Where the application relates to premises, a Icon for pdf notice advertisement [24.72KB] (please view an example site advertisement) 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.

All notices should be in the form prescribed by us 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.

A copy of your application will be forwarded to the Lancashire Constabulary.

Submitting a copy of your application to the Police

You must submit a copy of your application to the Police at the address below within seven days of submitting the application to the Licensing Team:

Preston Police Licensing Unit
Divisional Headquarters
Lancaster Road North

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 or supply alcohol, provide regulated entertainment, and provide late night refreshment.

Sexual Entertainment Venue Licensing Fees

  • New Sexual Entertainment Venue Licence - £960
  • Renewal of a Sexual Entertainment Venue Licence - £960
  • Transfer a Sexual Entertainment Venue Licence -  £960
  • Vary a Sexual Entertainment Venue Licence - £960

Licence conditions 

Once a licence has been granted, we are able to impose terms, conditions and restrictions on that licence.

This could be either in the form of conditions specific to the individual or standard conditions applicable to all sex establishments or particular types of sex establishments.

In Preston, we have decided to produce standard conditions and these will apply to every licence granted, renewed or transferred by the authority unless they have been expressly excluded or varied.

View our standard conditions

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