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Sex establishment licence

To run a sex establishment - ie any premises selling sex toys, books or videos; a venue where explicit films are shown to members of the public; or a venue where sexual entertainment takes place eg lap dancing, pole dancing, strip shows - you may need a licence from the local authority.

However, you may apply to the Licensing Authority requesting them to waive the requirement of a licence.

If you currently hold a licence you can make changes to your licence online (opens new window).

Apply online via

Eligibility criteria

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.

View Gateshead Council's policy on the regulation of sex establishments (January 2011) (PDF) [163KB] (opens new window)

Regulation summary

Visit to view a summary of the regulation relating to this licence (opens new window).

Application evaluation process

Applications must be in writing (including by electronic means) and contain any information the Licensing Authority requires as specified in the Rules of Procedure 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 no later than 7 days after the date of application and displaying a notice at the premises for 21 days beginning on the date of application. 

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the Licensing Authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the Licensing Authority within a reasonable period, please contact us on 0191 4334741 or at Alternatively, you can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details below.


A public register is available to view at the Council's Offices during normal office hours. To make an appointment to view the registers please contact the Licensing Service on 0191 433 4741 or alternatively email

Failed application redress

Please contact the Licensing Authority in the first instance.

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 Gateshead Magistrates' Court, Warwick Street Gateshead NE8 1DT.

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.

Licence holder redress

Please contact your Local Authority in the first instance.

If an application for a variation is refused, or if the licence is revoked, the licence holder 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 the Gateshead Magistrates' Court, Warwick Street Gateshead NE8 1DT.

A licence holder may also appeal to the crown court against a decision of a magistrates' court.

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form of 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.

The council operates a complaints procedure.  To view the complaints procedure or to make a complaint relating to the service you have received please click here.

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 the relevant authority, stating the grounds of the objection, within 28 days of the date of the application.

Contact us

Gateshead Council
Civic Centre
Regent Street

0191 433 4741