Policy Sex establishment Licensing Policy

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1. Introduction

  1. East Devon District Council, with effect from the 1 January 1983, resolved to apply Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, providing that anyone wishing to operate a ‘sex establishment’ within the district must first obtain a licence from the council. At that time the term ‘establishment’ related to shops and cinemas used for that purpose.
  2. Following the reclassification of lap dancing style premises as sexual entertainment venues by Section 27 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 the council resolved that with effect from the 1 February 2011 the amended Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 would apply to the District. This means that all sex establishment venues including lap dancing style premises within the East Devon District are required to be licensed by this Council.
  3. This Statement of Licensing Policy for Sex Establishments sets out the Council’s requirements for premises to be licensed as ‘sex establishments’ within the meaning of the Act.
  4. The information contained in the appendices attached and referred to within this policy should be read as an inclusive part of this policy document.
  5. Readers are strongly advised to seek their own legal advice if they are unsure of the requirements of the Act or schedules issued under the Act.

    Definition of a Sex Establishment

  6. A ‘sex establishment’ is defined under the Act as a ‘sex shop’, a ‘sex cinema’ or a ‘sexual entertainment venue’. Full definitions of those and other relevant terms can be found in Appendix A. This appendix also provides detail on when a sexual entertainment venue is exempt from the provisions of the Act.
  7. Sex establishments include any premises, vehicle, vessel or stall used as a sex establishment but does not apply to the sale, supply or demonstration of articles which are manufactured for use primarily for the purposes of birth control or primarily relate to birth control.

    The Geographical Area

  8. East Devon is one of eight Devon districts and, in population terms, it is the largest in the County.
  9. The district has a dispersed and mainly rural population. The rural nature of the area is emphasised by the low population density of 175 per square Km (the England and Wales average is427). Of our 32 wards 21 of these have a population density below the England average. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the World Heritage Coast cover a high proportion of the District.
  10. The main settlements comprise the coastal resorts of Exmouth (Devon’s largest town – population 48,613), Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth and Seaton. In the mainly rural inland area the settlements comprise Honiton, Ottery St Mary, and Axminster. There are numerous villages and hamlets.
  11. The district’s population currently stands at 142,300. Predominantly East Devon residents are from a white British background. Just 1.59% of the district's population is from an ethnic background. The population of East Devon has an older age profile with the average age of it's residents being 50.7 yeas (national average is 40.1 years). East Devon has a highest age profile of all the districts in Devon with the largest percentage of those aged 65+ at 30.06%
  12. The East Devon population is set to grow over the next few years, projected to reach 145,800 in 2016 although this is less than had been projected before the recession. Currently those in 65+ form the largest age group in the district.
  13. The entertainment industry within the District is a major contributor to the economy of East Devon. It attracts tourists and visitors, makes for vibrant towns and communities and is a major employer.

    Policy Development

  14. This Licensing Policy sets out the policies the Council will generally apply when making decisions on applications. This document explains the application process and provides information on what is expected of applicants. In addition, the processes by which representations may be made about an application are explained.
  15. Whilst this policy stands alone, applicants are advised to also have regard to the Council’s Licensing Act 2003 Policy which may impact on applicants, particularly those wishing to undertake other licensable activities such as the retail sale of alcohol.
  16. In addition to considering the requirements of the Act, consideration has been given to the following requirements in developing this policy:
    1. Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to take all reasonable steps to reduce crime and disorder within the district;
    2. The Regulators’ Compliance Code (set out under the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006) not to impede economic progress by the regulations we set out and to particularly consider the impact of regulations on small businesses; and
    3. The Provision of Services Regulations 2009 to ensure requirements are:
      1. non-discriminatory;
      2. justified by an overriding reason relating to the public interest;
      3. proportionate to that public interest objective;
      4. clear and unambiguous;
      5. objective;
      6. made public in advance; and
      7. transparent and accessible.
  17. At the time of adopting this policy, the council has no licensed sex establishments.


  18. The Council has had due regard to the need for public consultation which took place between the 1 March 2011 and the 25 May 2011.

    Amendments to policy

  19. Any significant amendment to this policy will only be implemented after further consultation with those who are likely to be affected by the amendments including existing licence holders and statutory responsible authorities under the Licensing Act 2003.
  20. For the purposes of clarity any significant amendment is defined as one that:
    1. is likely to have a significant financial effect on the licence holders, or
    2. is likely to have a significant procedural effect on the licence holders, or
    3. is likely to have a significant effect on the community.
  21. Any minor amendment to this Policy may be authorised by the Strategic Lead, Licensing and Governance in consultation with the chairman of the Licensing and Enforcement Committee.
  22. The Authority will review the Policy when it identifies a need or as required by legislation changes or following government guidance.

    Exchange of Information

  23. The authority may from time to time exercise it’s powers under section 115 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to exchange data and information with the police and other partners to fulfil its statutory objective of reducing crime in the area.
  24. Details of applications and objections which are referred to a Licensing Sub-Committee for determination will be published in reports that are made publicly available in accordance with the Local Government Act 1972 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
  25. The names and addresses of objectors will not be disclosed to applicants or published in public reports in accordance with the Act. Such details will be made available to Councillors on the Licensing Sub-Committee.

    Further Information

  26. Should you have comments regarding this policy please write to the address on the front of this document or email licensing@eastdevon.gov.uk.
  27. Relevant legislation can be viewed at www.opsi.gov.uk.

When this policy has been published and will be reviewed

Policy published 1 July 2019 Last updated 10 March 2022