Sexual entertainment venues

Sexual entertainment venues

Sex establishment policy consultation

16 August 2019 to 10 November 2019.

To give us your views visit our sex establishment policy consultation.

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 introduced a regime for the control of sex establishments. The regime is adoptive and the council has for many years been able to control the provision of sex shops and sex cinemas within its administrative area. The 1982 Act has recently been amended, enabling the control of “sexual entertainment venues”.

The Council has adopted the amended Schedule which will enable applicants to seek to obtain a licence to operate a sexual entertainment venue, or to secure a waiver.

The Act imposes a duty on the council to refuse a licence in certain cases (for example if an individual applicant is under the age of 18 years) and confers powers on the Council to refuse to grant or refuse to renew a licence by reference to matters such as the maximum number of sex establishments which the Council considers appropriate for the locality of the premises, the premises that are subject of the application and the character of the locality.


The Sexual Entertainment Venue policy applies to every type of sexual entertainment venue (as defined in the Act) unless an exemption applies. Reference should be made to the legislation itself for a full understanding of what might fall within the definition and when exemptions may apply, but in summary a sexual entertainment venue is:

(a) premises (which includes traditional premises as well as vehicles, vessels and stalls etc. – but not private dwellings to which the public are not admitted) at which
(b) relevant entertainment (i.e. either: (i) a live performance of such a nature that, ignoring financial gain, it must reasonably be assumed to be provided solely or principally for the purposes of stimulating any member of the audience* whether by verbal or other means; or (ii) a live display of nudity* of such a nature that, ignoring financial gain, it must reasonably be assumed to be provided solely or principally for the purposes of stimulating any member of the audience* whether by verbal or other means.
(c) Is provided (i.e. provided or permitted to be provided by or on behalf of the organiser*)
(d) before a live audience
(e) for the financial gain of the organiser or entertainer (this can be direct or indirect)
(f) unless an exemption applies (exemptions are detailed in paragraph 2A of the third schedule – see link to the Act contained in the policy)

*audience includes an audience of only one person
nudity is the exposure of the pubic area, genitals or anus and, in the case of women, their nipples
organiser - the person who is responsible for the organisation or management of the entertainment itself or the premises

How to apply

Applicants are required to serve a copy of their application and all accompanying documents identified in the application form and annexes on the Licensing Authority and the Chief Officer of Police and advertise their application both on site and in a local newspaper. Please note the Licensing Team are moving on 9 May 2015 and applications can be submitted either by post to the Licensing Team (Temple Street), Bristol City Council, PO Box 3176, Bristol BS3 9FS or by hand at the Citizen Service Point at 100 Temple Street, Bristol BS1 9FS.

SEV City centre locality map (pdf, 1.9MB) (opens new window)

SEV Regulations and Conditions (pdf, 70KB) (opens new window)

SEV Grant Application Form (pdf, 413KB) (opens new window)

SEV Application Annexes (pdf, 81KB) (opens new window)

SEV Public Notice (pdf, 18KB) (opens new window)

Renew your licence

To renew your SEV licence complete and return the renewal form:


From 01 April 2013 to 31 March 2014 the following fees will be applicable, please note these fees may be subject to revision from 01 April 2014.

Grant - £9,898
Renewal - £5,164
Transfer - £830
Variation - £66.50

Register of Applications

See related documents for weekly list of applications received.


Please use our Objector form (pdf, 50 KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 32KB) (opens new window) .

Contact information

Licensing team (Temple Street)

Bristol City Council, PO Box 3176

Bristol, BS3 9FS


Tel: 0117 357 4900