Sexual entertainment venues

Sexual entertainment venues (SEVs) are a category of sex establishments that provide relevant entertainment.

This category was introduced in the Policing and Crime 2009 Act (2009 Act).

To open an SEV you must apply for a licence authorising the use of the premises as a sex establishment under schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 (the 1982 Act) and as amended by the 2009 Act.

Applications for SEVs will be subject to our statement of licensing policy for SEV premises.

The Home Office has also produced guidance for SEVs.

1. How to apply

Read the rules of procedure before applying and submit the required documents mentioned in paragraph 3.1. Also read our standard conditions for sex entertainment venues.

Apply Online

If you apply online, pay the correct fee (PDF, 503KB) by credit or debit card.

Applicants for a Limited Company will also need to complete the particulars of a limited company form (DOC, 31KB).

Displaying notice

Once an application has been made, applicants must display a public notice both on the premises and in a newspaper circulating in the area where the premises is located.

The premises' public notice must be printed on orange A3 paper and the text printed in black ink. The notice must be clearly visible from the street and have the same wording as the notice placed in a local newspaper.

Download public notice template (DOC, 12KB)

Find out more about applying by post.

2. What happens next

Receiving the application

When a new application is received we will ensure that it has been made correctly and is accompanied by the correct fee and other supporting documentation.

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.

If the application is refused by the council, the compliance costs will be refunded, but if the application is withdrawn during the application process we will refund compliance costs and any remaining processing costs which have not already been incurred.

Objections can be made to applications; in that situation we will notify you and send you anonymous copies of the objections.

Licensing Sub-Committee

All new licences will be reviewed by the 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, if the application meets our policy and is in a suitable location.

Licences are valid for one year from the date of grant and will specify:

  • the licence number
  • who the licence is issued too and their address
  • the trading name and address of the premises
  • the period in which the licence is valid
  • the conditions to which that licence is granted
  • a plan of the premises

3. Redress information

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.

Applicants should seek legal advice regarding their appeal rights if they feel aggrieved by the application decision.

Local residents and businesses

Local residents and business can object to new, renewal or variation applications. Objections relating to an application must be submitted to the council in writing within 28 days from the date a valid application is received.

4. Renewing your licence

You must renew your licence every year before it expires.

Only licences holder or their agent can renew a licence, but new operators can take over the licence with a transfer application.

Applications must follow our rules of procedure and the requirements for renewal in schedule 3 of the 1982 Act.

Renew your licence online

To apply online you must pay the correct fee (PDF, 503KB) by credit or debit card.

Displaying notice

Applicants must display notice in a local newspaper circulating the area where the premises is located at least once and within 7 days of the date the application was submitted.

The same notice must also be displayed on the premises for 21 days from the date we receive the application.

Download public notice template (DOC, 12KB)

Find out more about renewing by post.

Application process

5. Further information

On 4 April 2011 we passed a resolution that Schedule 3 of the 1982 Act as amended by the 2009 Act be adopted with effect from 1 October 2011. The effect of passing this resolution was to require SEVs to be licensed under the 1982 Act.

On 10 February 2012 the Statement of Licensing Policy for SEVs went into effect. The policy sets out our approach to the regulation of these premises under the 1982 Act.  The policy should be read with reference to the statutory Statement of Licensing Policy published under the Licensing Act 2003.

Location and limits on numbers

Under the 1982 Act we have the discretion to refuse applications relating to SEVs if, at the time of applying, the number of SEVs in the relevant locality is equal to or exceeds the number we consider appropriate for that locality.

The maximum numbers of SEVs are:

  • 25 in Westminster core CAZ north
  • 0 in all other localities within the city

View a map showing the area covered by the core CAZ north (PDF, 405KB) 

Aims and objectives

The aims and objectives of this policy are to:

  • prevent crime and disorder
  • promote public safety
  • prevent public nuisance
  • protect children from harm
  • improve the character and function of the city, or areas of it

If you have any questions relating to this policy, contact the licensing team.

Last updated: 3 August 2018