Ryedale District Council

Sex establishment licence

Sex establishments are required to be licensed under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. Copies of the Act can be purchased from The Stationery Office.

A sex establishment can either be a sex shop, sex cinema or sexual entertainment venue e.g. strip tease, lap dancing etc. A sex shop is a premises used for business which consists to a significant degree of selling sex articles e.g. sex toys, books or videos. A sex cinema is any premises used to a significant degree for showing films which are concerned primarily with, or relate to, sexual activity.

However, you may apply to the local authority requesting them to waive the requirement of a licence.

Sexual Entertainment Venue Licences

On 4 November 2011, it was resolved that Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 (as amended by Section 27 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009) shall come into force in the District with effect from 1 March 2011.

Any person wishing to run a Sexual Entertainment Venue ( SEV ) therefore requires a licence to do so from the authority under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 (as amended). This is similar to the current system for those persons who would wish to operate either a sex shop or sex cinema.

There are fees applicable for this service.

There is a 21 day advertisement requirement followed by a hearing before Councillors prior to any decision being made.

Note: The service is not covered by the tacit authorisation process as it is in the public interest that we process the application before it can be granted.

Eligibility criteria

When considering an application for a sex establishment licence, the Council may only use the following criteria:

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

Regulation summary

A summary of the regulation relating to this licence.

Application evaluation process

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.

The law defines the way in which an application is made, which include advertising notice of the application in the local press and displaying a notice outside the premises for a specific time period to give persons living locally the opportunity to comment by a statutory closing date.

How long will it take to receive the licence?

Following receipt of the application form and any necessary attachments including the relevant fee, you can expect to hear from us within 60 days. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period please contact us. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details below.

Apply online

See below.


Fees will payable for applications.

Failed application redress

Please contact the local authority 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 Magistrate's 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.

Licence holder redress

Please contact the local authority in the first instance.

A licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition can appeal to a local Magistrates' Court.

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, if you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice Bureau will give you advice. 

Consumer complaint

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.

Other redress

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.

For more information please contact the Licensing Team on 01653 600666.


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Ryedale District Council
Ryedale House, Old Malton Road
Malton, North Yorkshire
YO17 7HH

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