Sex cinema

This means any premises, vehicle, vessel or stall used to a significant degree for the exhibition of moving pictures which are concerned primarily with:

  • the portrayal of or are intended to stimulate or encourage sexual activity;
  • the portrayal of genital organs or urinary or excretory functions.

However, there are 3 exceptions:

  • a dwelling-house to which the public is not admitted
  • premises only being used for purposes for which they are licensed under Section 1 or Section 6 of the Cinemas Act 1985
  • the council has waived the requirement for a licence.

Licences for sex cinema will be granted for up to one year.

Application process

To assist applicants in the application process please read these documents carefully:


We are under a duty to protect the public funds it administers, and may use the information you provide to prevent and detect fraud. We may also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds for these purposes.

Medway Council is a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998. We hold information for the purposes specified in our Data Protection Notification made to the Information Commissioner and may use this information for any of them. We may get information about you from others, or we may give information to them. If we do it we will only do so as the law permits, to check accuracy of information or prevent or detect crime. We may check information we receive about you with what is already in our records. This can include information provided by you as well as by others such as government departments and statutory agencies. We will not give information about you to anyone outside Medway Council unless the law permits us to do so.


When applying, you must:

  • give public notice of the application by publishing an advertisement in a local newspaper that is circulated in the local authority area at least seven days after the date the application is made
  • display a notice of the application on or near the premises where members of the public can easily read it. The notice should be displayed for 21 days from the date the application was made
  • ensure all notices are in the form prescribed and identify the premises or if the application relates to a vehicle, vessel or stall, specify where it will be used as a sex establishment.


The licensing authority will not determine an application for the grant of a licence, unless the applicant allows an authorised officer a reasonable opportunity to enter the proposed sex entertainment venue. This is to make such examination and enquiries as may be necessary to decide if the applicant and premises is suitable.

Determining application

A licence can be refused if at the time the application is determined the number of sex establishments or sex establishments of a particular kind in the area is equal to, or exceeds the number the authority considers appropriate. Or that a sex establishment would be inappropriate having regard to:

  • the character of the relevant locality
  • the use to which any premises in the vicinity are put
  • the layout, character or condition of the premises.

In determining any application the Licensing Authority is aware that it can impose restrictions on the licence or to place conditions on the licence. If restrictions or conditions are applied, the Licensing Authority will ensure that they are necessary, reasonable and proportionate to meet the objectives of any primary legislation, in particular the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 and any other relevant legislation.

For more information contact the Licensing Team by emailing

Write to: Licensing Unit, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR