Sex shop and sex cinema licence

To run a sex shop or sex cinema you will need a licence from us.

What is a sex shop or sex cinema

A sex shop is a premises which 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 showing films which are concerned primarily with, or relate to, or are intended to stimulate or encourage sexual activity.

If you want to run a sexual entertainment venue (such as a lap dancing or pole dancing club) this requires a different licence.

Who can apply for a sex shop or sex cinema licence

To apply for either a sex shop or sex cinema licence you 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
  • 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


A licence costs:

  • £2,050 for a new application
  • £1,700 to renew a licence
  • £1,200 to transfer a licence
  • £850 to change a current licence

How long a licence lasts

A licence can be issued for up to 1 year, we will determine how long it is granted for. It is your responsibility to ensure that you apply for a new licence once your old licence has expired.

What you need to provide with your application

You need to provide the following documents with your application form:

1. A completed application form (and signed privacy statement if applying by post)

2.  A plan of the premises

For new premises you need to submit a plan of the premises showing all means of entrance to and exit from the establishment, parts of the premises used in common with any other premises, and details of how the premises are situated in relation to the street and the front elevation of the building.

3. Any further documents as required in the application form

4. Evidence of advertising your application

You need to advertise your application in the local press within 7 days of submitting it to us and display a notice outside the premises for 21 days, beginning from the date of the application, to give the public the opportunity to make comments on your application.

You need to show us you have done this.

5. Notify the police of your application

If you're applying online this will be done automatically. If you are applying by post using an old form then you will need to send a copy of your application, within 7 days of applying to us, to:

South Yorkshire Police

Licensing Department

Moss Way Police Station

Moss Way


S20 7XX

What happens once you have made an application

Once we have received your application there is a 28 day consultation period where we will consult with South Yorkshire Police and wait for any objections (representations) to your application. If no comments or objections are raised during this period the application will be granted and your licence will be issued to you.

If objections are received within the consultation period a public hearing must be held to determine your application. You will be notified in writing telling you when the hearing will be, who has made a representation and what that representation is. The public hearing will generally be held within 20 working days after the last date for comments. The hearing date may be extended if we consider it is in the public interest to do so.

Tacit consent will not apply

It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. This means your application will not be granted automatically and you cannot assume your licence has been granted if you have not heard from us.

If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period you should contact us.

Apply for a new licence, renew a licence or change your current licence

You can apply online for a new sex shop and sex cinema licence, renew your licence or apply to make changes to your licence.

How to make an appeal or a complaint

Any applicant who is refused a licence or refused the renewal of a licence, may, within 21 days of being notified of the refusal, appeal to the local magistrates' court.

A licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition of their licence can appeal to a local magistrates' court.

Members of the public who are experiencing problems with licensed premises should contact us for advice.

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Contact the Licensing Team

0114 273 4264
Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm
Block C
Staniforth Road Depot
S9 3HD

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