Sex establishment licences

If you operate a sex shop, sex cinema or sex encounter establishment you must have a sex establishment licence.

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 can apply by sending your completed sex establishment application form and documents via email to

You can also apply by post to: Barnsley Council, Licensing, Regulatory Services, PO Box 634, Barnsley, S70 9GG.

You'll need to include with your application:

  • layout / site plans.
  • copies of any relevant planning approval.
  • evidence that publication of the application has taken place in accordance with the statutory provisions.
  • original or certified copies of DBS certificates for each director of the business. 

Once we receive an application 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).

Guidance notes

For additional information please read our guidance notes.

How much does it cost?

The current fees are as follows:

Application type Sex shops Sex cinemas Sexual entertainment venues
New application £234 £234 £234
Renewal application £112 £112 £112
Variation of licence £234 £234 £234
Transfer of licence £34 £34 £34
Name change  £10.50  £10.50  £10.50
 Replacement copy of licence  £10.50  £10.50  £10.50

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 18s 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 us for further information on how to view the register.