You need a licence if your business provides goods or entertainment that are sexually explicit or of a sexual nature. This includes:

  • sexual entertainment venues
  • sex cinemas
  • sex shops

You can download our Sexual Establishments Policy, which explains the activities that need a licence as well as our approach to applications.

If you’re not sure if you need a licence, you can contact us to find out.

To apply for a licence, you will need to:

  • download and complete the application form, Annex A and Annex B, provide all of the supporting documents and return them to us
  • send a copy of your application and all of the supporting documents to Essex Police, at the same time you submit it to us
  • pay the correct fee

The fees are:

  • £4,230 for a new licence
  • £1,140 for an annual renewal
  • £1,270 to vary a licence
  • £450 to transfer a licence

Within seven days of submitting your application to us, you will need to:

  • display a notice of your application at your premises for 21 days from the date you put the notice up
  • advertise your application in a local newspaper

Once we receive your application, we will notify you of the process we are going use to consider it, as each application varies.

If we grant your licence, we can impose conditions on your premises. These conditions can be about the appearance of the premises, the hours you can operate and the marketing material you can display.

Regardless of any conditions we impose:

  • no one under the age of 18 can come onto the premises, either as a customer or to work
  • you will need to display a copy of your licence and licensing conditions at your premises

Fines and penalties

You may receive a fine of up to £1,000 if you don’t display a copy of your licence and licensing conditions at your premises.

You may receive a fine of up to £20,000 if you:

  • operate without a licence
  • break any conditions of your licence

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