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UK Sex Shop Info

Council Fees

Sex Shop Licensing

Bricks and mortar sex shops need a licence if either:

  • They sell R18 hardcore VHS/DVDs/Blu-rays (Mail order sales are not allowed even with a sex shop licence) OR
  • A significant percentage of stock or sales is sex related. The local council decides the percentage, typically 10-30%, or else is decided on case by case basis.



Council Licensing Fees & Restrictions


  News December 2017: Fees reduced

The council reduced licence fees by 20% to make an application fee £4200 and a renewal £2520



  News June 2016: Fees

A proposal has been submitted reducing the current sex shop licence fee of £1,460 to £478. However there is also a very a dodgy idea to charge an additional fee of £785 should one or more objections be lodged. Surely a red rag to anti-sex shop campaigners.

Ashford Borough Council (Kent)

 News October 2013: Fees

Ashford council charges £3095 for a new application and £565 for an annual renewal


 News 23rd July 2011: Lap Dancing Fees

Aylesbury has set an annual licence fee of £2,200. This is discounted to £600 for uncontested renewals.


 News March 2014: Fees reduced

Basildon Council has said that the fee for a new sex establishment licence would drop from £2,000 to £1,000


 News February 2014: Fees reduced

Barrow Council has said that the fee for a new sex shop would drop from £2,529 to £197.64


 News January 2013: Nil Policy

Basingstoke Council is still pushing for a nil policy on morality grounds. Set to be discussed by the full council in March 2013.

 News 8th May 2012: Nil Policy

Basingstoke wanted a general nil policy. They were advised that this would be illegal and so have adapted the plan to be a nil policy in the town centre and nearly impossibly restrictive rules outside of the town centre. The plan will be open to public comment in June 2012.


 News October 2013: Fees reduced

Bath Council has reduced licensing fees. Fees are now £3,695 previously £3,995


 News April 2013: Nil Policy

Bedford Council moralises that there is not a single spot in town that is suitable for an adult business. However the Council are not proposing to closed existing businesses.


 News October 2013: Fees

Birmingham charges £7585 for a new application and £4070 for an annual renewal


 News 30th June: £5,000 Proves Taxing

The Rouge club on Clifton Street, Blackpool, was one of five venues granted licences by Blackpool Council in January to operate as sex entertainment venues.

The permission was subject to the payment of the £5,000 licence fee by Monday, April 30. While £1,000 was paid on April 25 an agreement was reached that owner Pauline Lai would pay the £4,000 balance by June 1. After hearing £2,500 was still owed, the council's public protection sub-committee agreed to give Lai until August 23 to pay the rest.

 News 18th October 2011: Lap Dancing Restrictions

After a 6 month study it looks likely that Blackpool will consider 4 as the maximum number of lap dancing venue. But all applications will be considered on their individual merits. There are currently 7 clubs operating in Blackpool.

Venues will also have to comply with miserable rules. Nudity will continue to be banned while customers must sit down throughout performances and will be forbidden from touching dancers. Clubs will have to adhere to a total of 47 licensing conditions which also include strict controls on publicising premises.


  News September 2016: Further openings to be banned

Bournemouth has proposed a ban on additional sex shops and lap dancing clubs in the town.

The current licence feers are:

  • Sex shops £3678 (£1866 renewal)
  • Sex entertainment venues £7000 (£3000 renewal)

  News 16th April 2011: Lap Dancing Fees

Bournemouth has granted all it's lap dancing clubs new licenses while raising the annual fee from £150 to £7,000.


 News January 2014: Proposed Licence Fees

A licence is set to cost a new applicant £2,136.


 News August 2013: Reduced Fees
Bradford Council plans to cut the amount it will charge for the licensing of sex shops and zoos, following a Court of Appeal ruling. The cost of a licence for a sex shop, sex cinema or strip club is likely to be reduced from £5,658 to £1,928.

Breckland (Norfolk)

 News October 2013: Fees reduced

Breckland Council has reduced licensing fees. First application, now £1,541 previously £3,000. Renewals are now £813, previously £3,000

Brighton and Hove

 News October 2013:  Expensive Fees
License renewals cost £6,500


 News August 201": Consultation


Cambridge council has launched a public consultation about its sex establishment licensing policy. The policy covers sex shops and sex cinemas and sex entertainment venues , which refers to places offering activities such as lap dancing, topless bars and strip shows.

Yvonne O'Donnell, environmental health manager at the council, said the review did not stem from new applications, but from the need to ensure the current policy was fit for purpose .

The consultation will run until August 21, after which responses will be considered and taken to the licensing committee meeting in October.

 News January 2014: Proposed fee reduction

Under the proposals, the cost of a sex entertainment venue licence would drop by 45%, from £4,916 to £2,700. The licence fee for a sex shop or cinema would drop by 49%, from £4,916 to £2,500.

 News 6th July 2011: Nil Policy

Cambridge Council is moving for a 'nil policy' on adult entertainment. Repressive rules have forced the existing club to not reapply for a licence.


 News October 2013: Fees

Chichester charges £1906 for a new application and £953 for an annual renewal


 News October 2019: Fees

Coventry charges £5750 for SEV licences

 News May 2013: Just 1

Coventry has now adopted a monopolistic policy of only allowing 1 table dancing bar (there is only 1 in Coventry)

 News 9th August 2011: Room for 4

Coventry looks set to limit lap dancing clubs to 4.



 News July 2013: Refunds

Derby City Council will repay nearly £9000 each to the 2 licensed sex shops in the town. A recent High Court judgement ruled this over charging to be illegal and that councils are only allowed to charge licence fees in line with administration expenses.

In 2010-11, the council had charged £1,500 for a licence renewal for each shop and, in 2011-12 and 2012-13, £4,380. But, following the key legal test case, it reduced that fee to £495. The council is paying back the excess totalled over 3 years.


 News October 2013: Licence Fees

Doncaster council charges £2840 for new licences and renewals

Dudley Update 2018: Fees

Sex Shop licence fees are set at £2994 per annum.

Dumfries and Galloway Update 2022: Fees

Sex Shop licence fees are set at £1586 per annum

East Northamptonshire

 News October 2013: Licence Fees

East Northamptionshire council charges £1109 for a new application and £295 for an annual renewal


 News October 2013: Fees reduced

Gloucester Council has reduced licensing fees. First application, now £4420. Renewals are now £2810. Previously all licences were £10700

 News 12th May 2011: Lap Dancing Licensing

Gloucester has opted out of the optional licensing scheme for lap dancing clubs and licences will be granted similarly to any other licensed premises


 News September 2015: Licence Fees

The fee for a sex shop licence renewal is £1032.

Hartlepool Borough Council

 News 4th April 2011: Lap Dancing Fees

Officers also discussed proposed new licensing requirements for premises that offer “sexual entertainment”.

If councillors do introduce the new controls, at a meeting of the next full council, then there would be a fee for any premises applying for a Sex Entertainment Venue (SEV).

The proposed fee structure for a new application is either £500 or £850, depending on the rateable value of the premises, while a renewal application would range between £100 and £450.


News February 2014: Nil Policy

Havering Council have announced a zero tolerance policy to sex shops and table dancing clubs. There are no such businesses currently operating in the area.


 News 16th April 2011: Lap Dancing and Sex Shop Fees

Licence fee set to £2,300

Isle of Wight

 News October 2013: Licence Fees

Isle of Wight council sets licence fees at £3500


 News September 2013: Fees reduced

There are only three sex shop licences issued in Kirklees, all in Huddersfield, and they will benefit from a cut. The £2,575 licences falls to £750.


 News March 2013: Council moralists recommend that 3 lap dancing clubs should be shut down

A new draft policy recommends that Leeds City Council imposes a limit of four lap dancing clubs,  three fewer than are currently operating. It also suggests banning strip joints from sensitive locations , for example near schools and religious buildings. The policy is up for public consultation.

 News 16th April 2011: Lap Dancing and Sex Shop Fees

Leeds has reduced it's fee from £3,271 to £2,300 after petitioning from a sex shop chain.


 News 2nd January 2011: 3 clubs closed

Leicester morality council decided that 3 clubs should be closed whilst leaving 2 to continue operating.

 News 24th July 2011: 5

Leicester city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby and his cabinet colleagues are expected to agree a limit of five lap dancing clubs in the city. There are currently five adult entertainment venues in the city.

Each club will be required to get a £6,000 licence to operate. These will be granted to venues that meet strict restrictions to ensure not too much fun.


  News February 2016: Fees reduced

Lichfield Council has reduced sex shop licensing fees from £3,000 to £1,650 for first application.

 News October 2013: Fees reduced

Lichfield Council has reduced licensing fees. Now £3,000 for first application and £1,750 for renewals

London: Bexley

 News 26th May 2011: Lap Dancing Restrictions

A spokesperson for Bexley council said: Bexley has decided at present not to have a policy. Setting a nil policy does not prevent applications being made or authorities having to consider such applications.

On March 29th 2011 Bexley Council dropped the price of a sex establishment licence from £22,537 to £8,995 after they carried out a study into licence charges. The EU Services Directive which came into affect on December 28, 2009, requires that councils only charge for the admin cost of the licence and the required inspections and not the enforcement work carried out on unlicensed businesses.

London: Camden

 News 5th August 2011: Nil Policy

Camden is proposing a nil policy for new lap dancing venues, sex shops and sex cinemas.

London: City of London

 News January 2012: Nil Policy

The City of London has capped its quotas for new clubs at zero,

London: Enfield

 News 2nd December 2011: Nil Policy

Strip shows, lapdancing and pole dancing are to be banned by a council, even though there is not a single adult entertainment venue or sex shop in the borough.

Launching its campaign under the slogan of No Sex please, we're Enfield , the borough council is adamant it wants to continue to provide a haven for fair-minded people .

Chris Bond, cabinet member for the environment, said: We have no sex establishments in Enfield and that's the way we want to keep it.

Residents are now being nominally asked for their views.

London: Greenwich

 News 26th May 2011: Licence Fees

A sex shop licence costs £20,360

London: Hackney

 News 2011: Nil Policy

Started off proposing a 'nil policy' for lap dancing and sex shops. After effective opposition from the Shoreditch strip pubs, the policy was changed to 'nil new businesses', but existing businesses are to be allowed to remain.

London: Hammersmith & Fulham

 News February 2014: Fees Reduced

It is proposed to slash fees for new sex shops and cinemas by 70%t, from £16,668 down to £4,947. The annual licence new grant fees for sex entertainment venues were proposed to be cut by 58% from £16,668 to £6, 983.

 News February 2012: Licence Fees

Hammersmith's annual licence renewal fee is nearly £17,000

London: Haringey

 News January 2012: Nil Policy

Haringey has capped its quotas for new clubs at zero,

London: Hounslow

 News March 2013: Nil Policy

See consultation from

Hounslow have launched a consultation in support of a nil policy for both lap dancing clubs and sex shops. The council is doing nothing to encourage public responses though, just providing an email address.

London: Islington

 News January 2012: Nil Policy

Islington is looking to set its quota for new clubs at zero. (But is appears that gay clubs are somehow excused from the 'nil' policy).

Licences cost £14,000

London: Newham

 News October 2013: Fees reduced

Newham has reduced licensing fees. First application, now £2000. Renewals are now £1285. Previously £7500 and £2000

London: Richmond

 News January 2012: Nil Policy

Richmond set its quota for new clubs at zero, whilst tolerating the continued licensing of the Private Shop. The nil policy is discretionary and new applications will be considered.

London: Tower Hamlets

 News October 2013: Morality Fee

Tower Hamlets are currently proposing an increased immorality charge of £9,000. There has been debate as to whether this can be justified under the law that it should cover admin only

 News October 2011: Nil Policy

Another borough going through the process of imposing a 'nil policy' towards adult businesses via a token public 'consultation'. The council is keen to close the 11 clubs currently operating in the borough.

London: Westminster

 News October 2013: Fees reduced

Westminster has reduced licensing fees. First application, now £5,479, and renewals are now £3,863.

 News 7th January 2012: Licence Fees

A sex shop licence costs £29,102. Adult retailers are seeking a Judicial Review as councils are supposed to only charge costs incurred, not use the fee as a revenue earner.

In a bid to restrict the number of sex shops in Soho, the council has limited the number of licences issued to venues in the area to just 16 at any given time.


 News October 2013: Fees reduced

Luton has reduced licensing fees. First application, now £5,000, previously £9,300. Renewals are now £2,000, previously £4,000


 News February 2014: Review

Manchester town hall is reviewing its policy. Currently a permit to open a new sex shop in Manchester costs £4,625.  A new lap dancing club costs £4,425.


 News 19th October 2012: Restrictions

Medway has set a limit of 2 lap dancing clubs in Rochester but doesn't seem to have such a restriction in Chatham. Seems to be more to do with irritation with licensing controls than a properly justified policy.


 News October 2013: Fees

Middlesbrough charges £2475 for a new application and £1500 for an annual renewal


  News October 2013: Fees

Initial applications are charged at £6956. Renewals and variations are £2026.

  News January 2012: 15 clubs to lose strippers

Newcastle has set a maximum limit of 5 clubs leaving 15 part time clubs foundering


 News May 2012: Licence Fees

A Sex Entertainment Venue licence costs £2,572 for the first year and £1,262 a year thereafter, in accordance with the sex establishment policy of Forest Heath District Council.

North Lincolnshire

 News November 2013: Licence Fees Reduction

Scunthorpe's only sex shop Pulse and Cocktail took its case to the Civic Centre and the council agreed the sex shop's fees should be cut by £ 1,220 a year. Councillors agreed that the processing work involved did not warrant the present £ 3,620 a year fee for renewing the licence. So now the fee is £ 2,400


  News 20th July 2011: Sex Shop Fees

Although no such venues are currently in the county, councillors are keen to maintain this, as they set in place a new licensing policy. At a recent full council meeting, members at Northumberland County Council backed proposals for a licence fee of £6,500, including a non-refundable administration fee of £1,500.

They were told that the fee was based on what nearby local authorities were charging and set to dissuade people from opening any establishments in Northumberland.


  News August 2020: Free refund
More than £30,000 will be refunded to sex shops in Nottingham after it was revealed that shops were being overcharged for their licenses.

It comes after the council was challenged on the price it charges for sex shops to renew their licences. Previously, uncontested applications for licence renewals had to be heard by a full committee, and the costs involved were passed on to the applicant.

However, since 2017, decisions have actually been taken by an officer, at a lower cost, but the applicants were still being charged the costs for the committee.

As a result, Nottingham City Council has decided to refund the additional costs, backdated to 2016 when the challenge was lodged. It means in total £30,876 will be paid back to three sex shops in the city.

  News July 2016: Easier renewals

The Council noted a change of procedure such that future sex shop licence renewals will not require council meetings or officer visits unless issues arise.

  News March 2013: On a mission from the god of gender equality

The deputy police commissioner Ms Chris Cutland seems to think her job means that she can impose her particular morality on the people of Nottingham and has called for a ban on table dancing clubs and sex shops.

  News 17th March 2012 : Extortionate Fees

The closure of the Adult Gift Shop was attributed to an extortionate increase in licence fees to £11,000.


  News February 2014: Fees reduced

Oldham has already cut its charges from £4,000 to just £325

  News October 2013: Fees

Oldham charges £5125 for a new application and £4000 for an annual renewal


  News August 2013 : Extortionate Fees

Oxford sex shops are milked with licence fees set at more than £8000 per year


  News August 2019: Update

The fee for a licence renewal is £3022

  News 8th February 2012: Miserable Plymouth

Plymouth Council has approved the policy that only one sex shop or cinema and two lap dancing venues will be allowed in Union Street. The city centre will be allowed just one sex shop and no lap dancing venues. All other parts of the city will be generally considered out of bounds but any application will be considered on their merits.

A one-year licence will cost £3,900, and the annual renewal fee will be £3,200.

The policy will apply from March 2012.

  News 9th August 2011: Room for 3

Plymouth is looking to set a maximum of 3 lap dancing clubs paying £3,200 each


 News 2nd March 2012: Miserable Portsmouth

Portsmouth Council have proposed a repressive policy banning any new strip pubs, lap dancing clubs or sex shops.

See Council Consultation Details from
See Consultation Document [pdf] from

The proposal is now open for a six-week consultation. To share your views email by April 12 2012.


  News June 2019: Fees

The annual fee for a new sex establishment licence is £7,560



  News July 2018: Licences reduced

The council has taken the decision to drastically lower the cost of maintaining and applying for a licence.

From June 1 2018r, the cost of a new sex establishment licence application cost £1,115, 84% lower than the £6,925 it previously cost.

Where it once cost £3,200 to renew that licence, the charge will now be £270 meaning the cost has been reduced by over 90%.


 News February 2014: Fees maintained

Salford, which currently has no licensed sex premises, will continue to charge £4,500

Salisbury   News September 2014: Licence fees

In a news article about the Weymouth Erotica Belle shop, it was noted that the licence fee renewal for Salisbury was just £10.50.


  • Southport
  News December 2018: Licence Fees

The cost of renewing or transferring sex shop licences fall £80 from £500 to £420, a fall of 16%. The cost of applying for a sex establishment licence rises 3% from £1,354 to £1,395.


 News 10th April 2011: Lap Dancing Policy and Licence Fees

Sex entertainment venues in Sheffield are angry about planned new charges and conditions set to be imposed by the council. Licence charges will be set to £1,335 per venue, annual renewal fees of £1,000, and levies of  £1,000 to vary licences or £500 to transfer them.

Julian Skeens, lawyer for Spearmint Rhino which has a lap dancing club on Brown Street, criticised a clause allowing advertising within 440 yards of a venue with council permission - but forbidding advertising elsewhere in the city: This would appear to be a severe restraint on trade as it would cover magazine and newspaper adverts, even within a national publication.

And Scores lap dancing club on Charter Square said whilst the council's fees were acceptable , conditions such as a requirement to have a register containing personal details of staff, and a signing-in book for workers open for inspection by police and council officials, appear to propagate a fictional and untrue image of the industry as a criminal and dishonest business .


  News, December 2013: Licence fees reduced

A first time application will drop from £2,025 to £1,159, with a renewal falling from £1,755 to £997.

  News, September 2013: Licence Fees

Sex Entertainment Venue licence Fees are currently £2,025 for a new application or £1,755 for a renewal

  News 14th January 2012: Proposed Licence Fee Increase

The proposals include raising the cost of sex shop licences by £500, from £2,025 to £2,531. The cost of a licence was just £1,350 in the 2010/11 financial year.

South Lanarkshire

 News September 2017: Licence fees increase

Sex shop licence applications rise from £652 to £672


 News October 2013: Licence Fees

Southampton council sets licence fees at £3500


  News May 2013:

The Council have put up its adult entertainment tax to £6420 per licence


 News February 2014: Fees reduced

Back in 2007 Stockport had one of the cheapest sex shop licenses in the region. Town hall bosses then hiked the charge to bring it in line with other authorities - but from April are now having to cut it again, from £4,823.50 to £1,655 .


  News April 2015: Reduced

Stoke-on-Trent City Council had previously charged premises selling adult toys, books or DVDs more than £7,000 for a licence. But following a review of licensing procedures, the authority has now reduced the licence fee for sex shops to around £400.


 News July 2013: Still considering a ban on table dancing

Swansea is considering implementing a morality policy of banning table dancing from the town.

  News 3rd November 2012: Lap Dancing Banned

Sex entertainment venues in Swansea have been banned by the local council following a decision to cap their number at nil . It covers lap dancing, pole dancing, table dancing, strip shows, peep shows and live sex shows.

A report to the cabinet, which made the decision said:

Members have requested that the current policy is reviewed with a view to introducing an appropriate number of nil for sexual entertainment venues in the city centre. It is not proposed that an appropriate number will be considered for the other types of sex establishments and any such applications will continue to be dealt with on their merits.

Telford and Wrekin

 News October 2013: Licence Fees

Tewkesbury council charges £3000 for a new application and £1500 for an annual renewal


 News October 2013: Licence Fees

Tewkesbury council charges £2500 for a new application and £1800 for an annual renewal


  News 10th April 2011: Lap Dancing Policy and Licence Fees

Torbay could have two lap dancing clubs after a new sex trade licensing policy was adopted by councillors.

The policy says there could now be two sex shops, two sexual entertainment venues but no sex cinemas.

Owners will have to pay a £5,697 application fee.

Under the policy, performers have to cover up after each performance and are banned from working intoxicated or under the influence of any illegal substances. They are also prohibited from taking contact details from customers. The only physical contact allowed between a customer and the performer is the exchange of money or tokens at the start of the performance.


 News 5th March 2011: License Fee

An annual sex shop licence costs £1,103.


 News February 2014: Fees increased

Trafford, which currently has no licensed sex premises, is actually putting its charge up by 5% to £1,478.


 News 28th March 2012: License Fee

The Wakefield licence tax for adult entertainment venues is £2,934. Wakefield are also imposing a business killing 30cm distance rule on lap dances


 News October 2013: Licence Fees

Walsall council charges £4500 for a new application and £2500 for an annual renewal

Warrington  News March 2019: Fees

Sex shops licences in Warrington will cost £1,900 in fees. The council's licensing committee has approved the charging structure for non-statutory licences for the trading period between 2019-20 and 2021-22.


 News 6th July 2011: Town Centre only for Kids

Watford Council are consulting on plans to ban lap dancing from the town centre


 News 28th February 2012: Nil Policy

Wellingborough Council have adopted a nil policy towards lap dancing and also want to reduce the amount of events allowed under the 'less than monthly' exemption to the lap dancing prohibition law.

Welwyn and Hatfield

  News, January 2014: Licence fees reduced

The cost of licensing a sex shop or cinema will fall from £6,000 to £1,400 and the fee for launching a sexual entertainment venue will drop from £3,000 to £630.


 News September 2014: Licence fees

In a news article about the Weymouth Erotica Belle shop, it was noted that the licence fee renewal for Weymouth was £2400.

News 12th May 2011: Lap Dancing and Sex Shop Fees

Licence fee set to £3,500



 News 26th February 2013. Out of line with other licences

Sex shops need to stump up £3,798 as a new business or £1,813 for a renewal for licenses granted on 2013/4.

This compares with licences in the range £118 - £688 for other businesses, namely pet shops, riding establishments, zoos, dog breeders, boarding kennels, massage centres, and tattoo shops



News August 2022: Reduced

Renewals now cost £790.

News from Jim, August 2014: Unreasonably high

The sex shop licence fees are still unreasonably high, £8,000 for a new licence and £4,000 for a renewal.

John Thomas Toys ®


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