- A sexual entertainment venue is any premises at which any live performance or live display of nudity is provided. Lap dancing, strip shows and similar entertainment will fall under this definition.
- A sex shop means any premises used for a business which consists of selling, hiring, exchanging, lending, displaying or demonstrating sex articles or other things intended for use in connection with sexual activity.
- A sex cinema is defined as any premises used for the exhibition of moving pictures, which are concerned primarily with the potrayal of sexual activity.
On 3rd November 2010 the Council adopted Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 as amended by Section 27 of the Police and Crime Act 2009. This amendment allows the Council to regulate sexual entertainment venues, as well as sex shops and sex cinemas. The provisions of Schedule 3 (as amended) come into effect on the 1st January 2011. From the 1st January 2011 any premises that wish to provide any live performance or any display of nudity may therefore also need a licence from the Council.
The legislation does not require a public register of all sex establishment licences to be kept. However, if you would like to know if a premises is licensed please contact the Trading Standards & Licensing Section using the contact details below.
Apply for a Licence
You can complete and submit an application online via the Government's Business Link website, or alternatively, you can print the completed application and return it to us using the contact details below:-
The Home Office has also provided guidance (.pdf, 166KB) for local authorities regarding sexual entertainment venues. This guidance is also of use to operators, the police and the general public.
Fees and Charges
There is an application fee which must be made at the time an application is made. Full details are available on our fees and charges page.
Who is Eligible
An applicant must:-
- be at least 18 years old;
- not be disqualified from holding a licence;
- have been resident in the UK for at least 6 months immediately before the application, or if a corporate body, must be incorporated in the UK;
- not have been refused the grant or renewal of a licence for the premises in questions within the last 12 months, unless the refusal has been reversed on appeal.
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 passers by the opportunity to comment by a statutory closing date.
When considering an application for a sex establishment licence the Council may consider the following criteria:
- The suitability of the Applicant;
- Whether the person applying is a “front” person for someone else;
- The character of the area; and
- Other considerations including any relevant representations made.
Full details on how to make an application can be found in the Council’s Licensing Policy (.pdf, 195KB).
You can expect to be contacted by a member of the Trading Standards & Licensing Section within 5 days of receipt of your application. In respect of applications for the grant of a new licence, we would normally expect to let you know our decision within 60 days of receipt. For renewal applications, subject to there being no objections received, we would normally expect to process your licence within 30 days of receipt of application.
Will Tacit Consent Apply?
No. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the Trading Standards & Licensing Section within a reasonable period, please contact them.
Are there inspections / assessments?
Officers from the Licensing Authority and the Fire Authority will inspect the premises to ensure that required technical standards are met. If works are required to bring the building up to standard, the applicant will be notified. A licence will not be issued until all required works are satisfactorily completed.
Once a licence has been issued, we may carry out further inspections to ensure compliance with the appropriate licence conditions.
How do I object to an application?
Any person wishing to object to an application for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence may give written notice of their objection to us, stating the grounds of the objection. Objections must be made during the appropriate 28 days objection period.
To discuss a pending application please contact the Trading Standards & Licensing Section using the contact details below.
Failed Application Redress
Please contact the Trading Standards & Licensing Section in the first instance, using the contact details below.
If your application is refused, or we refuse to renew your licence, you may, within 21 days of being notified of the refusal, appeal to the Wigan 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;
- If you hold a licence and you wish to appeal against a condition attached to the licence you can appeal to Wigan Magistrates' court within 21 days of receipt of the decision.
You may at any time apply to us for a variation of the terms, conditions or restrictions on your licence. If an application for a variation is refused, or if the licence is revoked, you 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 Wigan Magistrates' Court. You may also appeal to the Crown Court against a decision of a 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 Consumer Service (External Link) will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre .
* This page was last reviewed on 21 June 2012 *