Sex Establishment Licensing

Sex Establishment Licensing 

Why do I need a licence? 

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, as amended by the Policing and Crime Act 2009, requires a licence for the running of a:

  • cinemas, at which R18-certificate films can be shown;

  • sex shops, which are premises, vehicles or stalls used for selling, displaying or demonstrating sex articles (which may include R18-certificate videos and DVDs) or other things used in connection with sexual activity or acts of force or restraint associated therewith; and

  • sexual entertainment venues, which are premises at which entertainment comprising live sexually stimulating performances or displays of nudity is provided in front of an audience, for the financial gain of the organiser or performers. Provision of such entertainment on no more than 11 occasions per year, with at least a calendar month between each occasion, will not require a sex establishment licence.

It is recommended that you get some pre-application advice from our Licensing Officer prior to submitting an application. Please contact us by email or phone for the Licensing Officer contact details.

How do I obtain a licence? 

To apply for a licence 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 can apply for a licence:


A list of current licence fees can be found on the West Northants Council website.

The application fee should be paid at the time of your application.

Application process 

Applications must be made on the prescribed forms and be accompanied by all relevant documents. The application fee should be paid at the time of your application. 

Applicants must give public notice of their application by publishing an advertisement in a local newspaper and by displaying a notice outside the premises for a specific time period to give passers by the opportunity to comment by a statutory closing date.

Does tacit consent apply if I haven't heard anything after 28 days?

No. We must process your application and notify you that a licence / permit has been granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us via email or phone. 

Licensed Activity and Licence Holder Complaints

Should you wish to complain about a licensed activity or licence holder within the area of West Northants Council (Daventry Area), click on this link for contact details.


Service Complaints, Appeals, Failed Application Redress, Other Redress and Local Government Ombudsman

If you think we have done something wrong or are aggrieved by a decision made by West Northants Council (Daventry Area), please click on this link to see the options available to you.