The Council is responsible for the compliance and administration of a wide range of licensing functions. It is legally permitted to recover the cost of providing this service, from the licence fees charged. Following a review the Licensing & Environmental Regulation Committee approved the new fees set by the Council for functions carried out by the Licensing Team. This includes fees for licences issued to private hire, hackney carriage, sex shops and street trading consents, but excludes any fees set by Government.

For further information on this review please see the report of the Licensing & Environmental Regulation Committee – 'Licence Fee Review'.

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 requires all sex establishments to be licensed.

Who needs to register as a sex establishment?
How do I register as a sex establishment or renew my current licence?
How long does my licence last for?
How much will it cost?
What else will I need to do?
I want to compliment, complain or comment on a sex establishment.

Who needs to register as a sex establishment?

Any person that operates a sex shop or a sex cinema needs to be licensed.

A sex shop is a premises used for business which consists to a significant degree of selling, hiring, exchanging, lending, displaying or demonstrating sex articles. 

Meaning of sex articles:

  • Anything made for use in connection with or for the purpose of stimulating or encouraging:
    i. sexual activity
    ii. acts of force or restraint which are associated with sexual activity
  • Any article containing or embodying matter to be read or looked at or anything intended to be used either alone or as one of a set, for the reproduction or manufacture of any such article.
  • Any recording vision or sound:
    i. concerned primarily with the portrayal of, or primarily deals with or relates to, or is intended to stimulate or encourage sexual activity, or acts of force or restraint which are associated with sexual activity
    ii. is concerned primarily with the portrayal of, or primarily deals with or relates to, genital organs, or urinary or excretory functions.

How do I apply for a sex establishment licence or renew my current licence?

Before completing an application form, please ensure you read through the Sex shops licensing guidance notes on the Downloads tab.

Apply for a sex shop licence

How long does my licence last for?

A sex establishment licence last for one year from date of issue.

How much will it cost?

The fee is detailed in the document Licensing Fees and Charges.

The Licensing Team will not process an application unless the necessary fee is paid in advance. Please send a cheque (made payable to Bolton Council) or postal order for the payment to the Licensing Team - the postal address and telephone number to pay by credit/debit card can be found on the Contacts tab. Credit cards are subject to a 1.463% surcharge, this reflects the banks charges to the Council for accepting credit card payments.    

What else will I need to do?

Once a sex establishment licence is issued, you are required to comply with the 'sex establishment conditions' attached to the licence, for example (extract from the 'sex establishment conditions':

  • A warning notice of not less than 24 inches by 12 inches comprising white letters on a dark background, such letters to be at least one inch high, shall be exhibited in a prominent position on each entrance to the premises.

The warning notice must contain the following words and no others:-

Warning!

Persons passing beyond this notice may find material of a sexually explicit nature on display. No admittance to persons under 18 years of age.

  1. The word “WARNING” must appear as a heading.
  2. No pictures or other matter shall appear on the notice.
  3. The notice must be situated that no person could reasonably gain access to
  • No person under the age of 18 years may be admitted to the premises under any circumstances
  • No advertising material may be displayed which is visible to persons outside the premises
  • Nominate a responsible person not under 21 years of age to be in charge of and present on the premises at all times the public are on the premises
  • A copy of the Licence and the conditions must be exhibited at the premises.

A full copy of the 'sex establishment conditions' is attached to the right hand side of this page.

I want to compliment, complain or comment on a sex establishment

If you wish to compliment, complain or comment on a sex establishment contact the Licensing Team.

Licensing Team

Regulatory Services

Ground Floor

Town Hall

Victoria Square

Bolton

BL1 1RU

Telephone 01204 336584
Fax 01204 336201
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