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Sex Establishments and Sexual Entertainment Venues

You will need to apply for a sex establishment licence if you would like to run a sex shop, sexual entertainment venue (lap-dancing club), or a sex cinema.

  • A sex shop is a premises used for a business which consists to a significant degree of selling sex articles.
  • A sexual entertainment venue is a premises that provides relevant entertainment before a live audience for financial gain. Relevant entertainment is described as 'any live performance or display of nudity that is provided solely for the purpose of sexually stimulating any member of an audience'.
  • A sex cinema is any premises used to a significant degree for showing of films which are concerned primarily with, or relate to, or are intended to stimulate sexual activity.

Application process

To apply for a licence you will need to complete the application form and return it to us with the relevant fee.

Sexual entertainment venue or sex shop - new application £1,513
Sexual entertainment venue or sex shop - renewal £1,513
Sexual entertainment venue or sex shop - transfer £221


The application will need to be advertised in a local newspaper (St.Helens Star is the current main printed media) and you will also be required to display a notice on the proposed premises.

All applications and renewals will be determined by the Licensing and Environmental Protection Committee.

If granted, a licence is normally valid for 12 months.

If you require any further information you can contact us by email.