Licensing for Sex establishments

If you operate a sex shop, sex cinema or sex encounter establishment you must have a Sex Establishment Licence

If you operate a sex shop, sex cinema or sex encounter establishment you must have a Sex Establishment Licence

Who can apply

We must be satisfied that you are a fit and proper person to hold a sex establishment licence.  We will consider an application based on our policy guidelines and the following:

  • the locality of the premises
  • the use of other premises in the vicinity
  • the layout, character or condition of the premises

The number of Sex Establishment Licences permitted in the Barnsley town centre is currently restricted to three.

How to apply

You will need to provide:

  • layout / site plans
  • copies of any relevant planning approval
  • evidence that publication of the application has taken place in accordance with the statutory provisions

Once an application has been received, consultation takes place with the Police prior to a report on the application being referred to the General Licensing Board for consideration.

We aim to process applications within six weeks (subject to statutory notice periods).

Online application

You can apply and pay online using the GOV.UK website.
Accompanying documents may need to be uploaded for submission with the application.

Online Application for a Sex Establishment Licence
Online Application to Vary a Sex Establishment Licence

Postal application

You can apply by post by sending a completed application form, along with any accompanying documents that are required to:

Barnsley MBC
Regulatory Services
The Licensing Team
PO Box 602
S70 9FB

Please ensure you enclose a cheque for the correct amount, made payable to Barnsley MBC. Your application will not be considered if you have not paid.


For additional information on the latest changes to the legislation, please read the Home Office Guidance Notes and the BMBC Guidance Notes.

How much does it cost?

The current fees are as follows:

Application Type

Sex Shops

Sex Cinemas

Sexual Entertainment

New application




Renewal application




Variation of licence




Transfer of licence




You can pay by credit or debit card, when calling please have your card details ready.

Frequently asked questions

I want to sell 'restricted 18' videos, do I need a Sex Establishment Licence?
Yes, R18 videos may only be lawfully sold in licensed sex shops.

What restrictions/conditions are made by the council on Sex Establishment Licences?
The main ones concern the hours of operation, displays or advertisements on the premises, the content of window displays and the prohibition of under 18's entering the premises.

Public register

Current applications for Sex Establishment Licences and those previously completed can be viewed on the Sex Establishment Licence Public Register. Please contact the Licensing Team for further information on how to view the register.


Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982
Policing and Crime Act 2009

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