Apply for a Sex establishment licence

Sex establishments include sex shops, sex cinemas and sexual entertainment venues.

To understand the differences between these sex establishments, please consult the guidance notes.

In deciding whether to grant a licence for a sex establishment, we will take into account the character of the area, or the use of other premises in the area (for example, schools) and we may also have regard for the number of similar premises in the area.

Exempted premises

Premises which provide relevant entertainment on an infrequent basis are not required to be licensed as a sexual entertainment venue by us. These exempted premises are defined as premises where:

  • no relevant entertainment has been provided on more than 11 occasions within a 12 month period
  • no such occasion has begun within a period of one month beginning with the end of the previous occasion
  • no such occasion has lasted longer than 24 hours

We will carefully monitor the use of the exemptions, and take firm action should there be evidence of abuse of them.

A licence cannot be granted:

  • a) To anyone under 18 years of age
  • b) To someone who has held a licence that was revoked in the last 12 months (from the date of revocation)
  • c) To someone who has been refused a new or renewal of licence within the last 12 months prior to the date of making an application
  • d) To an individual who is not resident in the United Kingdom or has not been resident for 6 months prior to making an application
  • e) To a company not incorporated in the United Kingdom

We may refuse a licence if:

a) The applicant is unsuitable to hold a licence because they have been convicted of an offence or for any other reason

b) Were the licence to be granted, renewed or transferred, the business to which it relates would be managed or carried on for the benefit of a person other than the applicant, who would have been refused a licence if they had applied themselves

c) The number of sex establishments or sex establishments of a particular kind in the relevant locality at the time the application is determined is equal to or exceeds the number which we consider is appropriate for that locality

d) The grant or renewal of licence would be inappropriate having regard to:

  • i. the character of the relevant locality
  • ii. the use to which the premises in the vicinity are put; or
  • iii. the layout, character or condition of the premises, vehicle, vessel or stall in respect of which the application is made

In order to assist the trade and public alike a Sexual Entertainment Venue Policy has been adopted. The policy includes the principles to be applied when considering applications for sex establishments, the application process itself and the grounds for objection, refusal, the hearings procedure and the grounds for appeal.

How much does it cost?


Gravesham Sex Establishment licence - payable in total or in two instalments (Part A and Part B).
Licence Type Part A (on application) Part B (on grant of licence) Total
New application £2,780 £278 £3,058
Renewal £1,334 £278 £1,612

A copy licence (if lost or stolen): £30


Sex establishment licence pricing - Medway.
Sex Establishment Licence Cost
New Sex shop and cinema licence £4300
Renewal and transfer of Sex shop and cinema licence £2700
New and renewal for Sexual entertainment venue licence £4300

A copy licence (if lost or stolen): £30

How do I apply?

  1. Download and complete the Sex Establishment Application Form
  2. Download and complete the Public Notice Form. On the day of your application you must display the notice on the premises. See the instructions included
  3. Enclose two photos of the applicant. One must be endorsed as a true likeness. See our photo submission guidance
  4. Arrange to pay the correct fee. Cheques are accepted, or if you would prefer an invoice please email to register your details with us

Submit your application to:

Licensing, Gravesham Borough Council, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent DA12 1AU

What happens next?

Local residents will be able to object to the application. However, it is important to note that objections cannot be accepted based purely on moral or religious grounds as these are specifically excluded. Objections must be made in writing to us.

Each application will be decided by the Licensing Panel. Both the applicant and any objectors will be able to address the Panel regarding the application.