Sexual entertainment venues – adoption of framework legislation consultation

This consultation is now closed.

On April 6 2010, the Policing and Crime Act 2009 came into force and amended Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, which has historically controlled sex shops and sex cinemas.

Tower Hamlets Council is considering whether to adopt new legal powers relating to how it regulates sexual entertainment venues (e.g. lap-dancing and pole dancing clubs) following changes to legislation.

A sexual entertainment venue is defined as a premises at which entertainment of the following kind is provided, before a live audience, for the financial gain of the organiser or the entertainer: –

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 person in the audience (whether by verbal or other means).

In order for the new provisions in law to take effect, the Council will need to formally adopt the provisions of the Policing and Crime Act 2009.

Currently, venues that provide sexual entertainment do so by having a premises licence granted under the Licensing Act 2003. This means that the council must grant a licence to applicants, if they comply with the main licensing objectives.

This means that, under the 2003 Act, the council cannot refuse an application for a licence if the objection to it is based solely on the number of such premises already in operation, or because it may be considered to be an inappropriate location (close to a school for example).

The Policing and Crime Act 2009, provides new powers to councils, so they have the ability to regulate sexual entertainment venues. This would give the council a new legal framework to deal with licensing on sexual entertainment venues. 

As part of this process, we are consulting with local people and businesses about whether or not we adopt these legal powers.

The consultation will run from March 18 2013 to April 29 2013. If you would like to take part in the consultation follow the link to the online survey below.

Find out more about the Policing and Crime Act 2009.


This consultation is now closed. Thank you for taking part in the consultation.

A report of the consultation findings will be made available on the council website.

If you have further questions or comments please contact David Tolley, Head of Consumer and Business Regulations Service, on 020 7364 6724 or email


April 30, 2013