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Sex establishment policy

This policy sets out our proposed approach to regulating sex establishments and the procedure that we will adopt in relation to applications for sex establishment licences.


The policy is intended as a guide to applicants, licence holders, people who want to object to applications and members of the Licensing Committee who are responsible for determining contested applications.

It also aims to guide and reassure the public and other public authorities, ensuring transparency and consistency in decision making. When the decision making powers of the council are engaged each application will be dealt with on its own merits but this policy gives prospective applicants an early indication of whether their application is likely to be granted or not.

The legal controls for sex establishment premises are contained in the Local Governmental (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, as amended by the Police and Crime Act 2009.  These amendments were adopted in Islington on 1 April 2011.

There are three types of sex establishments which fall into the licensing regime:

  • sex shops
  • sex cinemas
  • sexual entertainment venues.

Our role as licensing authority is to administer the licensing regime in accordance with the law and not in accordance with moral standing. We recognise that Parliament has made it lawful to operate a sex establishment and such businesses are a legitimate part of the retail and leisure industries.

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