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Licence - Sex Establishment

Carlisle City Council has adopted Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, as amended by the Policing and Crime Act 2009, which requires Sex Establishments to be licensed with the local authority.

A sex establishment can either be a Sex Shop, Sex Cinema or Sexual Entertainment Venue.

A sex shop is any premises used for business which consists to a significant degree of selling sex articles.

A sex cinema is any premises used to a significant degree for showing of films which are concerned primarily with, or relate to, or are intended to stimulate sexual activity.

A sexual entertainment venue is any premises at which relevant entertainment is provided before a live audience for financial gain.

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

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

  • The suitability of the applicant
  • Whether the person applying is a "front" person for someone else
  • The location and situation of the premises in relation to other premises in the area
  • Whether the number of sex establishments in that locality is equal to, or exceeds the number which the Council considers appropriate for the area

Sex Shops and Cinemas

To run a sex shop - ie any premises selling sex toys, books or videos - you may need a licence from Carlisle City Council. To run a venue where explicit films are shown to members of the public, you also need a licence from Carlisle City Council.  This is for any premises used to a significant degree for showing of films which are concerned primarily with, or relate to, or are intended to stimulate sexual activity.

Sexual Entertainment Venues

Eligibility Criteria

With effect from 6 April 2010 local authorities in England were be able to adopt additional powers to regulate lap dancing clubs and similar venues. 

Section 27 of the Policing & Crime Act 2009 amends Schedule 3 to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 to introduce a new category of sex establishment called "Sexual Entertainment Venue" which, if adopted by a local authority, will require premises in that area who provide "relevant entertainment", such as lap dancing to obtain a Sex Establishment Licence.  There is an exemption for premises that provide relevant entertainment on an infrequent basis.

Carlisle City Council adopted this legislation on 9 November 2010.  The Regulatory Panel consulted upon a Sex Establishment Policy which was adopted on 20 April 2011.

Any licences granted under this legislation will come into effect on 1 June 2011.

The Home Office has provided guidance for local authorities regarding sexual entertainment venues.  This guidance will also be of use to operators.

Application Evaluation Process

Please contact the Licensing Manager in the first instance if you are considering an application.

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 from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact Carlisle City Council.

An application period of 28 calendar days is required.

Apply on line (right hand side)

Apply for a licence for a sex establishment

Change to an existing sex establishment licence

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