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Sex Establishment

To run a sex shop - i.e. any premises selling sex toys, books or videos – you will need a licence from the local authority. To run a venue where explicit films are shown to members of the public, you also need a licence from the local authority.

Who may apply?

An applicant:

  • must be at least 18 years old
  • must not be disqualified from holding a licence
  • must have been resident in the UK at least six months immediately before the application or, if a body corporate, must be incorporated in the UK
  • must not have been refused the grant or renewal of a licence for the premises in question within the last 12 months unless the refusal has been reversed on appeal

Find out more information about the legislation for this licence from the external link section below

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Application process

Applications must be on the prescribed form and accompanied by the appropriate fee.

Applications must contain the following:

  • the address of the premises
  • applicant's name, address and, where the applicant is an individual, their age,
  • Passport size photographs
  • A site plan
  • Plans of the premises

You will be required to give public notice of your application by publishing a notice in a local newspaper. The notice should appear no later than 7 days after the date of the application.

In addition, you will be required to display a notice on or near the premises for 21 days beginning on the date of the application which can be conveniently read by the public.

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 location and situation of the premises in relation to other premises in the area.

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How to apply

Apply online on the Business Link website

Online payment Terms and Conditions

The following credit or debit cards are accepted in Haringey:


Maestro - Mastercard Debit - Mastercard Credit - Visa Credit - Visa Debit (formerly Delta) and Visa Electron

Terms and conditions

  1. We cannot accept liability if payment is refused or declined by the card supplier.
  2. If the card supplier declines payment, the Council is under no obligation to bring this fact to the customer's attention.
  3. Customers should check with their card supplier to ensure that payment has been deducted from their relevant account.
  4. Due to end of day processing, this service will not be available between 10pm and 11pm every weekday evening (Mon- Fri).
  5. Users should note that any payments in process after the 10pm deadline need to be completed by 10.05pm.

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What if the Application/ Variation is refused?

Please contact us in the first instance, using the details supplied at the bottom of the page.

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 Highgate 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 Highgate 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 Highgate Magistrates' court.

You may also appeal to the crown court against a decision of a magistrates' court.

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How do I complain?

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the service provider by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other redress

Any person objecting 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, within 28 days of the date of the application.

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The Licensing Team
Level 6 Alexandra House
10 Station Road
Wood Green
N22 7TR

Tel 020 8489 1335

Page Last Updated:

20 August 2015

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