Sex shop and adult cinema licence

Laws define a sex shop as any premises used for a business which consists to a significant degree of selling, hiring, exchanging, lending, displaying, or demonstrating:

  • sex articles; or
  • other things intended for use in connection with or for the purpose of stimulating or encouraging sexual activity or acts of force or restraint which are associated with sexual activity (bondage).

A summary of licensing conditions

Sex shop operations are strictly controlled, and several stringent conditions are attached to any licence we grant.

  • Applications for a sex shop licence must be submitted to us together with a copy of the plans to the premises, the correct fee, and a Statutory Declaration by the applicant declaring any criminal convictions held.
  • The application is subject to a 28-day objection period following its advertisement in a local newspaper and on the premises, members of the public can submit their objections in writing to us during this time.
  • All applications are considered by our Licensing and Safety Panel who will take account of any objections received.
  • Successful applications will result in provisional approval being granted subject to inspections being carried out on the premises by the Fire Officer, our Electrical Engineer and Building Control Officer to determine the safety and suitability of the premises. Licenses are renewable every 12 months and are subject to re advertising the application and the necessary inspections being carried out. They only need reconsideration by the Licensing Panel if any objections are received.


The fee for a first-time application is £3931. The fee for a renewal is £589.

How to apply

An applicant must:

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

You will be required to give public notice of your application by publishing a notice in The Bury Times. The notice should appear no later than seven 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. You can view example notices at the end of this page.

When considering an application for a sex establishment licence we may consider 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.

Complete the application below with the correct fee.

Apply for a sex shop licence

What happens next?

We aim to process your application within 28 days of receipt. If your licence has been granted, we will post this out to you. If you are unsuccessful, we will tell you why and how to request a review if the approval has been refused.

Tacit consent

Tacit consent will not apply. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted.