Licence - Sex Establishment

Sex Establishments are required to be licensed within the meaning of Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 as amended by Section 27 of the Policing and Crime Act.

Adoption of Schedule 3 enables Stafford Borough Council to set terms, conditions and fees for the grant, variation, renewal and transfer of such licenses and the number of premises to be licensed in an area (which may be nil).

To operate a sex establishment, you need a licence from Stafford Borough Council.

A sex establishment can be a sexual entertainment venue, a sex shop or a sex cinema. 

A sexual entertainment venue is a premises where entertainment is provided before a live audience i.e. lap dancing, strip shows or a pole dancing club. 

A sex shop is any premises where articles, in the course of a business, are sold (to a significant degree) which can be used in connection with sexual activity, i.e. sex toys, books or videos.

A sex cinema is defined as any premises used for the showing of films that are concerned primarily with, relate to, or are intended to stimulate sexual activity.

Please refer to the Sex Establishment Venue Licensing Policy 2023 (pdf 235kb).

Application Process

Fees will be payable for applications and conditions may be attached.

Applications must be in writing (including by electronic means) and contain any information the local authority requires, as well as the applicant's name, address and, where the applicant is an individual, their age, plus the address of the premises.

Applicants must give public notice of their application by publishing an advertisement in a local newspaper.

All applications for the grant of a new sex establishment licence will be referred to the Authority’s Licensing Committee or relevant sub-committee for determination.

Apply for a licence for a sex establishment by contacting


Any applicant who is refused a licence, or refused the renewal of a licence, may, within 21 days of being notified of the refusal, appeal to the local magistrates' court.

The right to appeal does not apply against the mandatory grounds for refusal as detailed in Section 12.1.1 (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) of the Policy as well as against the grounds as detailed in Section 12.2.2 (c) and (d) which can only be challenged by the applicant by way of judicial review.

There is no right of appeal for objectors.

Offences and Penalties

Anybody who operates a sex establishment without a licence or fails to comply with the licence conditions, or employs illegal workers is committing an offence.

Penalties upon conviction can range from £1,000 to £20,000.

Sex Establishment Venue Licensing Policy 2023 (pdf 235kb)

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