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Sex Establishments

Application Process

Leeds has licensed sex shops and sex cinemas since 1983 and sexual entertainment venues since 2011.  Details of the licensing regime is detailed below.  In July this year the council adopted a new policy which has set limits on locations and numbers for sexual entertainment venues.  This policy came into effect on the 1st September 2013 and can be found in the download section on this page.

Licence summary

In order to run a sex establishment (sex shop, sex cinema or sexual entertainment venue) you may need a licence from the local authority.   However, you may apply to the local authority requesting them to waive the requirement of a licence.

Eligibility Criteria

An applicant:

  • must be at least 18 years old 
  • must not be disqualified from holding a licence 
  • must 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 
  • must 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

How to apply

More information on the legislation relating to sex establishments can be found in the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, however we have some guidance which may be easier to understand, includes information that is specific to Leeds and can be found in the download section on this page. 

In brief, applications must be in writing (including by electronic means) and contain any information the local authority requires, as well as the applicant's name, address and, where the applicant is an individual, their age, plus the address of the premises.  Applicants must give public notice of their application by publishing an advertisement in a local newspaper.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard about your application within a reasonable period, please contact us.

Forms to download, print and post or email

You can download forms from this page that you can complete and post or email to us.

Apply online

You are not able to apply for a sex establishment licence in this area online, however you can contact us for a form that can be completed electronically and returned to us by email.  We can accept payment over the phone, or in person at our Reception.


Please contact us in the first instance.

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.  However, the right to appeal does not apply where the licence was refused on the grounds that:

  • the number of sex establishments in the area exceeds the number which the authority consider is appropriate 
  • the grant of the licence would be inappropriate considering the character of the area, the nature of other premises in the area, or the premises themselves

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

Licence holders may at any time apply to the authority for a variation of the terms, conditions or restrictions in their licence.  If an application for a variation is refused, or if the licence is revoked, the licence holder may, within 21 days of being notified of the imposition of, or the refusal to vary, the term, condition or restriction in question, or of the revocation, appeal to the local magistrates' court.  A licence holder may also appeal to the crown court against a decision of a magistrates' court.

Any person objecting to an application for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence may give written notice of their objection to the relevant authority, stating the grounds of the objection, within 28 days of the date of the application.

Consumer Complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, please contact us and we can investigate your complaint.

Use of Personal Data

We are under a duty to protect the public funds we administer and to this end may use the information you have provided in your application for the prevention and detection of fraud. We may also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds for these purposes.

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