Sex establishment licences

What a sex establishment is, how to apply for a licence, can you open a sex shop, can you show adult films, can you have lap dancers or strippers on your premises, what adult entertainment is exempt, how to change a licence and who regulates and enforces sex establishments.

What is a sex establishment?

A sex establishment can be any of the following:

  • a sex entertainment venue - premises where relevant entertainment is provided before a live audience for financial gain of the organiser or the entertainer for example lap/pole dancing club.
  • a sex cinema - premises used (to a significant degree) for showing films that are concerned primarily with, or relate to, or are intended to stimulate sexual activity.
  • a sex shop (including mail order) - premises where articles are sold (to a significant degree), which can be used in connection with, or to promote, sexual activity for example sex toys, DVDs, publications.
  • relevant entertainment - live performance or any live display of nudity, which is of such a nature that it is provided, solely or principally, for the purpose of sexually stimulating any member of the audience.

The premise providing the activity could be a building, vessel, vehicle, piece of land, etc.

All licences are issued for a period of 12 months and must be renewed at least two months before the expiration of the existing licence.

The fee is £1,495 for a new licence application and £940 for a renewal application.

Can I apply for a sex establishment licence?

Apply online for a sex establishment.

You can apply if you meet the criteria set out in the legislation.

An applicant must

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Not be disqualified from holding a licence
  • Have been resident in the UK at least six months immediately before the application or, if a corporate body, must be incorporated in the UK
  • 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.

Full details of the application procedure and requirements can be found in the below policy:

Sex Establishment Policy (pdf 372kb)

Once you have submitted a complete application you are required within seven days to have sent a notice of application to Humberside Police Licensing:


The application advertising process will take a minimum of 28 days from the date the application is made.

The total number of days for representation is 28 days from the date the application is made.

When you have submitted an application you must do the following:

If within the 28 days anyone makes an objection to your application, the application will be determined by the licensing committee within 21 working days of the close of the representation period.

If an application is refused there is a right of appeal to the magistrates' court within 21 days of being notified in writing of the decision.

Tacit Consent

It is within the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within 35 days, please contact us at

How can I object to a sex establishment application?

If you have any concerns about an application that has been made and wish to make an objection, you can do so within the 28-day representation period set out in the legislation.

Your objection cannot be on moral grounds but should relate to the mandatory and discretionary grounds. These are also detailed in the Sex Licensing Policy as below:

Sex Establishment Policy (pdf 372kb)

What premises are licensed as a sex establishment?

Licensed Premises

There is currently only one licensed sex establishment in the East Riding of Yorkshire

  • Pulse and Cocktails, A63 Westbound, Brough, East Yorkshire, HU15 1RZ.

Current Applications

Pulse and Cocktails, A63 Westbound, Brough, HU15 1RZ.

Last date for representations - 1 May 2023.

Pulse and Cocktails application (pdf 953kb)

How do I renew my sex establishment licence?

Your licence must be renewed every 12 months and you should apply at least two months before the expiry of your existing licence.

Application to renew a sex establishment (word 84kb)

You must then advertise your application within the local newspaper within seven days of the application being submitted.

Notices must also be displayed on your premises for a period of 21 days.

Who regulates sex establishments?

Sex establishments are regulated by officers of the licensing authority and Humberside Police.

Once a licence has been granted, the conditions attached to the licence must be met.

Breaching of any licence conditions or operating an unlicensed sex establishment, can result in a fine up to £20,000.

You can report any concerns to the licensing team at

More information on how we approach the regulation of sex establishments is available in East Riding of Yorkshire Council's sex establishment licensing policy.

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