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Sex establishment licence toolkit



Sex establishment toolkit

The toolkit is designed to provide both potential applicants and clients of such premises with a dedicated resource of guidance and information.

If you have any further queries, please contact us.

North Devon Council Sex Establishment Policy. (pdf 636 kB) PDF logo

North Devon Council is currently reviewing its policy with respect of Sex Establishments. A copy of the policy, the proposed main changes and a survey with respect of your views can be found here. In order for representations to be considered they must be received prior to the 28 June 2014.

Fees

Do I need a licence with North Devon Council?



North Devon Council has adopted amendments made to Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, and as a result from the 14th April 2011 all forms of sex establishment will now require a licence with the council.

The new provisions bring the licensing of lap dancing premises and similar venues in line with other sex establishments (sex shops and sex cinemas). They allow the Licensing Authority to prescribe a wider range of conditions on the licences of sexual entertainment venues than those available under the Licensing Act 2003, and allow local people to oppose an application for a sex establishment licence if they have legitimate concerns that a sexual entertainment venue would be inappropriate given the character of an area.

In addition they require licences to be renewed at least annually, at which point local people will have the opportunity to raise objections (if any).

What is a sex establishment?



A sex establishment means a sex cinema, sex shop or sexual entertainment venue. Each is defined below and in more detail within the North Devon Council Sex Establishment Policy (see link above).

Meaning of sex cinema



A ‘sex cinema’ is any premises, vehicle, vessel or stall used to a significant degree for the exhibition of moving pictures, by whatever means produced, which:

  • are concerned primarily with the portrayal of, or primarily deal with or relate to, or are intended to stimulate or encourage sexual activity; or acts of force or restraint which are associated with sexual activity; or
  • are concerned primarily with the portrayal of, or primarily deal with or relate to, genital organs or urinary or excretory functions.

A sex cinema does not include a dwelling-house to which the public is not admitted.

Meaning of sex shop



A ‘sex shop’ means any premises, vehicle, vessel or stall used for a business which consists to a significant degree of selling, hiring, exchanging, lending, displaying or demonstrating:

  • sex articles; or
  • other things intended for use in connection with, or for the purpose of stimulating or encouraging sexual activity; or acts of force or restraint which are associated with sexual activity.

No premises shall be treated as a sex shop by reason only of their use for the exhibition of moving pictures by whatever means produced.

A ‘sex article’ means:

  • anything made for use in connection with, or for the purpose of stimulating or encouraging sexual activity; or acts of force or restraint which are associated with sexual activity;
  • any article containing or embodying matter to be read or looked at or anything intended to be used, either alone or as one of a set, for the reproduction or manufacture of any such article; and to any recording of vision or sound which:
  • is concerned primarily with the portrayal of, or primarily deals with or relates to, or is intended to stimulate or encourage, sexual activity or acts of force or restraint which are associated with sexual activity; or is concerned primarily with the portrayal of, or primarily deals with or relates to, genital organs, or urinary or excretory functions.

Restricted 18 (R18) films



R18 (classified by the British Board of Film Classification) is a special and legally restricted classification primarily for explicit works of consenting sex or strong fetish material involving adults. Films may only be shown to adults in specially licensed cinemas, and video works may be supplied to adults only in licensed sex shops. 'R18' videoworks may not be supplied by mail order.

Meaning of a sexual entertainment venue


A sexual entertainment venue means:

“any premises at which relevant entertainment is provided before a live audience for
financial  gain of an organiser. For the purposes of the Act it does not matter whether the
financial gain arises directly or indirectly from the performance or display of nudity.”

Relevant entertainment means:


(a) Any live performance; or

(b) Any live display of nudity;

which is of such a nature that, ignoring financial gain, it must reasonably be assumed to be provided solely or principally for the purpose of sexually stimulating any member of the audience (whether by verbal or other means). An audience includes an audience of one.

A display of nudity means:



(a) In the case of a woman, exposure of her nipples, pubic area, genitals or anus; and

(b) In the case of a man, exposure of his pubic area, genitals or anus.

An organiser means:



Any person who is responsible for the organisation or management of

(a) The relevant entertainment; or

(b) The premises.

Exempt premises



Notwithstanding the above, the following are not defined as sexual entertainment venues:

(a) sex cinemas and sex shops;

(b) premises at which the provision of relevant entertainment  is such that:

(i) there have not been more than eleven occasions on which relevant entertainment has been so provided which fall (wholly or partly) within the period of 12 months;

(ii) no occasion has lasted for more than 24 hours; and

(iii) no occasion has begun within the period of one month beginning with the end of any previous occasion on which relevant entertainment has been so provided.

For the purposes of the council's policy, relevant entertainment is provided if, and only if, it is provided, or permitted to be provided, by or on behalf of the organiser before an audience and involves partial or full nudity.

The applicant



An applicant:

  • must be at least 18 years old
  • must not be disqualified from holding a sex establishment licence
  • must have been resident of an EEA State at least six months immediately before the application or, if a body corporate, must be incorporated in an EEA State
  • must 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.

The application process (grant, renewal and transfer of licences)

To make an application, you will need to provide us with the following:

  • a completed application form
  • application fee and hearing fee where required
  • copy of a scaled plan (see the requirements for plans below)
  • any additional information in support of the application (where applicable).

The legislation requires the application form to be signed. However, the Licensing Team is prepared to accept an application form by email or fax, but you must post in the original application form to us.

Criteria for plans accompanying applications

The plan must show:

  1. the extent of the boundary of the building, if relevant, and any external and internal walls of the building and, if different, the perimeter of the premises;
  2. the location of points of access to and egress from the premises;
  3. the location of escape routes from the premises;
  4. in a case where the premises is to be used for more than one licensable activity, the area within the premises used for each activity;
  5. fixed structures (including furniture) or similar objects temporarily in a fixed location (but not furniture) which may impact on the ability of individuals on the premises to use exits or escape routes without impediment;
  6. in a case where the premises includes a stage or raised area, the location and height of each stage or area relative to the floor;
  7. in a case where the premises includes any steps, stairs, elevators or lifts, the location of the steps, stairs, elevators or lifts;
  8. in the case where the premises includes any room or rooms containing public conveniences, the location of the room or rooms;
  9. the location and type of any fire safety and any other safety equipment including, if applicable, marine safety equipment; and
  10. the location of a kitchen, if any, on the premises.

The plan may include a legend through which the matters mentioned or referred to above are sufficiently illustrated by the use of symbols on the plan.

Advertisement



Applicants for a grant, renewal or transfer of a licence need to advertise their application in a local newspaper. The Council considers that the publication of a notice in the North Devon Journal or North Devon Gazette will satisfy this requirement. This advertisement must be made no later than 7 days after the date of the application and must be published on at least one occasion.

Where the application is in respect of premises, notice (pdf 22 kB PDF logo) of it shall also be displayed for no less than 21 consecutive days beginning with the date of the application on or near the premises and in a place where the notice can be conveniently be read by the public (from the exterior of the premises).

The notice must identify the relevant premises and must be of a size equal to or larger than A4. It must be on pale blue coloured paper, printed in black ink or typed in black in a font size equal to or larger than 16.

Every notice which relates to a vehicle, vessel or stall must specify where it is to be used as a sex establishment.

Duty to notify police



In the case of electronic applications:

A copy of an application for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence will be sent by the licensing authority to the Chief Officer of Police within 7 days of the application having been received.

In any other case:

The applicant shall not later than 7 days after the date of the application send a copy of the application for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence to the Chief Officer of Police.

Consultation

On receipt of your application consultation will be carried out with the Police, Fire Authority, the Council’s Planning and Development Services, and Environmental Health and Housing Services.

In addition consultation may be undertaken with local residents associations, parish councils, local ward members and in some cases neighbouring properties/residents.

This process will usually take around 14 days depending on the complexity of the application. If queries are raised then you will be contacted in writing and/or by telephone and given opportunity to address them.

Objections



Where a person wishes to object to an application for a grant, renewal or transfer of a licence shall give notice in writing of his objection to the Licensing Manager at North Devon Council, stating the general terms the grounds of the objection not later than 28 days after the date of the application.

Where objections are received, before considering the application, North Devon Council will give notice in writing of the general terms of the objection to the applicant.

North Devon Council will not without the consent of the person making the objection reveal his/her name or address to the applicant.

In considering any application for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence North Devon Council will have regard to any observations submitted by the Chief Officer of Police, and any objections

Considerations

All applications for grant, transfer and variation must be heard by the Council’s Licensing Committee. In addition renewal applications that receive objections must be heard by the Licensing Committee.

The refusal of an application for the grant, renewal or transfer of a Sex Establishment Licence may be undertaken based on the following criteria:-

  • the applicant is unsuitable to hold the licence by reason of having been convicted of an offence or for any other reasons
  • that if the licence were to be granted, renewed or transferred the business to which it relates would be managed or carried on for the benefit of a person, other than the applicant, who would be refused the grant, renewal or transfer of such a licence if he made the application himself.

Additional considerations solely for grants and renewal include:

  • that the number of sex establishments in North Devon is equal to or exceeds the number which North Devon Council consider is appropriate. (For information no decision has yet to be taken by the Council as to the number deemed appropriate).
  • that the grant of the licence would be inappropriate, having regard to: -
  • the character of the locality
  • to the use to which any premises in the vicinity are put, or;
  • to the layout, character or condition of the premises, vehicle, vessel or stall in respect of which the application is made.

Refusal of a licence



Where North Devon Council refuses to grant, renew, or transfer a licence, it will provide in writing to the applicant a statement containing the reasons for it's decision.

Variation of a licence



The holder of a licence may at any time apply for a variation of the terms conditions or restrictions on or subject to which the licence is held as may be specified in the application.

The process of applying for a variation is the same as that for applying for an initial grant except that a plan of the premises is not required unless the application involves structural alterations to the premises.

Renewal of a licence

The holder of a licence may apply for renewal of the licence.  In order for the licence to continue to have effect during the renewal process, a valid application together with the appropriate fee must be submitted before the current licence expires.

The process of applying for renewal of a licence is the same as that for applying for an initial grant except that a plan of the premises is not required.

Transfer and cancellation of licences

A person may apply for the transfer of a licence at any time.

The process of applying for transfer of a licence is the same as that for applying for an initial grant except that a plan of the premises is not required

In the event of the death of the holder of a licence granted that licence shall be deemed to have been granted to his personal representatives and shall, unless previously revoked, remain in force until the end of the period of 3 months beginning with the death and shall then expire; but the appropriate authority may from time to time on the application of those representatives, extend or further extend the period of three months if the authority are satisfied that the extension is necessary for the purpose of winding up the deceased’s estate and that no other circumstances make it undesirable.

North Devon Council may, at the written request of the holder of a licence, cancel the licence.

How long will it take to process my application?



We will endeavour to contact you within 5 working days of making your application. If we have not contacted you within this period please contact us to check that your application was correctly made and received.

Having received all responsible authority comments and public representations and taking into account the standard conditions, your application will be heard by the  council's Licensing Committee in all occasions other than renewals for which no objections have been received.

Standard applications with no objections will take a minimum of 4 weeks to process. If there are objections this time period is increased, and your application is likely to take 4 - 8 weeks to process depending on the date of the next Licensing Committee meeting.

If an application is not dealt with in the above time periods, your application will not automatically be deemed granted for reasons of public policy and child protection.

How long does the licence last?

A licence will remain in force for one year or such shorter period specified in the licence as North Devon Council think fit.

On receipt of a suitable application North Devon Council may where they think fit, transfer that licence to another individual.

Where before the date of expiry of a licence, an application has been made for its renewal, it shall be deemed to remain in force notwithstanding that the date has passed until the withdrawal of the application or its determination by North Devon Council.

Where before the date of expiry of a licence, an application has been made for its transfer, it shall be deemed to remain in force with any necessary modifications until the withdrawal of the application or its determination, notwithstanding that the date has passed or that the person to whom the licence is to be transferred if the application is carrying on the business of the sex establishment.

What conditions will be attached to a licence?



North Devon Council have made regulations under Section 13 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 which prescribe standard conditions (pdf 53 kB) PDF logo. Conditions include areas such as the permitted hours of opening and closing, visibility to passers by etc. Where a licence is granted, renewed or transferred licences will be presumed to be subject to them unless they have been expressly excluded or varied.

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

A holder of a licence shall keep exhibited in a suitable place a copy of the licence and the above regulations which prescribe the conditions subject to which the licence is held.

Rights of entry



Where a warrant is granted by a justice of the peace, a police constable or authorised officer of a local authority may at any reasonable time, enter and inspect any sex establishment in respect of which a licence is for the time being in force with a view to ascertaining various offences.

Offences and penalties

A person who:

  • knowingly uses, or knowingly causes or permits the use of, any premises, vehicle, vessel or stall except under and in accordance with the terms of a licence
  • being the holder of a licence for a sex establishment, employs in the business of the establishment any person known to him to be disqualified from holding such a licence
  • being the holder of a licence, or the servant or agent of the holder of a licence, without reasonable excuse knowingly contravenes, or permits the contravention of a term, condition, or restriction specified in the licence
  • in connection with an application for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence, makes a false statement which he knows to be false in any material respect or which he does not believe to be true, shall be guilty of an offence
  • without reasonable excuse knowingly permits a person under the age of 18 years of age to enter an establishment
  • employs a person known to him to be under 18 years of age in the business of the establishment
  • shall be guilty of an offence liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £20,000.

A person who fails to keep exhibited a copy of the licence and any conditions at a premises shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (currently £1000).

A person who without reasonable excuse refuses to permit a constable or authorised office to exercise their power of entry under warrant, shall for every such refusal be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 of the standard scale (currently £5000).

Where a licence is revoked, its holder shall be disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence in North Devon for a period of 12 months beginning with the date of revocation.

Offences by bodies corporate



Where an offence committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate, or any person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, he as well as the body corporate, shall be guilty of the offence.

Where the affairs of a body corporate area managed by its members, the above situation shall apply to the acts and defaults of a member in connection with his function of management as if he were a director of the body corporate.

Application form

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EUGO Portal

Fee



The fees for sex establishment licences are as follows:

Grant of a licence - £4,332.52 (£2,032.45 refund if a hearing is not required)

Renewal of a licence - £3,243.22 (£1,591.50 refund if a hearing is not required)

Transfer of a licence - £561.88 (£381.27 refund if a hearing is not required).

Public register

At present there are no licensed sex shops on the public register in the North Devon area, although there are a small number of unlicensed shops that do sell sex articles.

Contact details



Application forms should be sent to The Licensing Team, Environmental Health and Housing , North Devon Council, Civic Centre, North Walk, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 1EA or can be handed in at the Civic Centre Customer Service Centre or one of our area offices in Ilfracombe and South Molton.

In case of query, please telephone the Customer Service Centre on 01271 388870 and ask for the Licensing Team.

Right of appeal



Subject to various provisions within the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 any person aggrieved by:

  • a refusal to be granted, renewed or transferred a licence
  • any terms, conditions or restrictions on a licence or the refusal to vary such terms, conditions, or restrictions
  • the revocation of a licence.

may appeal to the Magistrates Courts who may give such directions regarding the licence or its conditions as it thinks proper. Appeals should be lodged within 21 days of being notified of the refusal.

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
  • an appeal against a decision made at the Magistrates Court may be appealed at the Crown Court but the decision of the Crown Court is final.

Complaints

If you want to make a complaint about anyone operating as a licensed sex shop, or for operating as a sex shop without having a licence, please contact us.

If you feel we have failed to provide you with good service or are concerned about the progress of your application, please telephone the Customer Service Centre. The Licensing Team will endeavour to resolve any concerns you may have.

The Council also has a formal complaints procedure.

We would always advise that in the event of a consumer complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - 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.

Further information



Copies of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 are available from Her Majesty’s Stationary Office.

Lap dancing is currently regulated via the Licensing Act 2003, however The Policing and Crime Act 2009 received Royal Assent on the 12th November 2009. This will  tighten up the regulation of lap-dancing and other sexual entertainment venues. When this legislation becomes effective this area of the web-site will be updated to provide more information, application forms etc.

Contact information



To contact the Customer Service Centre:

Telephone: 01271 388870
For Typetalk: precede with 18001
Text: 07624 804042
Fax: 01271 388451
Email: customerservices@northdevon.gov.uk
Web form: send us a web enquiry
Join the conversation on Twitterexternal website
Compliment, complaint or suggestion? Your feedback

Our office hours are Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Licence applications, notices etc should be sent to:

The Licensing Team
Environmental Health and Housing
North Devon Council
Civic Centre
North Walk
Barnstaple
Devon
EX31 1EA

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