To open a sex shop, you must apply for a licence.
A sex shop is a type of sex establishment that provides sex toys, books, restricted 18 films or anything defined as sex articles under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 (1982 Act).
Premises that sell, hire, lend, display or demonstrate sex articles to a significant degree must be licensed by the council under the 1982 Act.
Sex shops don't have to be shop premises; vessels or stalls can be licensed under the 1982 Act.
Applications are subject to our sex shop licence policy. We have a limit on the number of sex shop licences we will issue in certain areas of the city.
If the application is valid, we will consult the relevant consultees. The consultation period is 28 days from the application being validated.
If the application is invalid, we will contact you to help you rectify it. Where applications are so invalid we will return it without processing it.
Objections can be made to applications; in that situation we will notify the applicant and send them anonymous copies of the objections.
All new licences will be reviewed by our Licensing Sub-Committee.
If an application is opposed, the application and objections will be considered at a public hearing and both applicant and objector can make representations to the committee.
The committee will also consider if the applicant is suitable, and if the application meets the council's policy and is in a suitable location.
If the committee grants the licence, it will be valid for one year from the date of grant allowing the use of the premises as a sex shop under schedule 3 of the 1982 Act.
The licence will specify:
If the applicant disagrees with any conditions, they may appeal under paragraph 27, schedule 3 of the 1982 Act to the City of Westminster Magistrate Court within 21 days from the formal decision being issued.
If an application is refused under paragraph 12(1), schedule 3 of the 1982 Act, the applicant doesn't have the right to appeal under paragraph 27 unless they prove the refusal doesn't apply to them.
The address for the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court is 70 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AX.
If the application is refused under paragraph 12(3(c) or (d) of schedule 3 of the 1982 Act, the applicant doesn't have the right to appeal under paragraph 27.
If there are no grounds for appeal under paragraph 27, schedule 3 of the 1982 Act, the applicant can apply to judicially review the decision.
We recommend applicants seek legal advice regarding their appeal rights if they feel aggrieved by the application decision.
Local residents and businesses can object new, renewal or variation applications. Objections must be submitted to the council in writing within 28 days from valid application being received by the council.