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Sex shop and cinema licence

To run a sex shop - i.e. any premises selling sex toys, books or videos - you may need a licence from South Tyneside Council.

To run a venue where explicit films are shown to members of the public, you also need a licence from us.

Eligibility criteria

You must:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • not be disqualified from holding a licence
  • 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

Evaluation process

Fees will be payable for applications and conditions may be attached.

Applications must be in writing (including by electronic means) and contain any information the council requires, 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.

How long will it take for my application to be processed?

If your application is successful and we have received all of the necessary documentation, your application will be processed within five working days after the 28 day consultation period.

Will tacit consent apply if I haven't heard back from you?

Tacit consent cannot apply because the Council must carry out checks to ensure that the application complies with the qualifying conditions and the premises must be inspected.  The Council will advertise the  application for a period of 28 days. A successful application will be processed within five working days after the expiry of that period. If you wish to check on the progress of your application please contact the Licensing Team on 0191 424 7695 or email licensing@southtyneside.gov.uk

How do I appeal if my application isn't approved?

Please contact South Tyneside Council in the first instance.

If you are refused a licence, or refused the renewal of a licence, you may, within 21 days of being notified of the refusal, appeal to the local magistrates' court.

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

How do I appeal against the conditions of my licence?

Please contact South Tyneside Council in the first instance.

You can also appeal to your local magistrates' court.

Consumer complaints

If you have a complaint, we advise that you contact the trader, preferably in the form 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.

Licence holders may at any time apply to the council for a variation of the terms, conditions or restrictions in their licence.

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 local magistrates' court.

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

Other appeals

Any person objecting to an application for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence may give written notice of their objection to the council, stating the grounds of the objection, within 28 days of the date of the application.

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