Licences and permits applications

Sexual Entertainment Venue ('SEV') Licensing

Sexual Entertainment Venues (SEVs)

The City of Edinburgh Council (“the Council”) regulates sexual entertainment venues through the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (the 1982 Act)

A sexual entertainment venue licence is required for the use of any premises at which sexual entertainment is provided before a live audience for (or with a view to) the financial gain of the organiser.

From 31 March 2024, all Sexual Entertainment Venues in Edinburgh will require a Sexual Entertainment Venue Licence to operate.  The Council's Regulatory Committee have adopted a licensing policy in relation to the licensing of sexual entertainment venues. which details how to apply for a licence. Please ensure that you review this before applying for a licence. 

Premises at which sexual entertainment is provided on a particular occasion will not require a SEVs licence if the sexual entertainment has not been provided on more than 4 occasions within a 12-month period. Please review the licensing policy statement for further information in relation to this. 

If a licence is granted, conditions will be attached. Please see the licensing policy statement for details on which conditions will be applied as standard and how additional conditions may be added.

Appropriate number of Sexual Entertainment Venues in Edinburgh

Having resolved to licence Sexual Entertainment Venues, the Council determined that the maximum number of Sexual Entertainment Venues within the City of Edinburgh should be three (3).   It should be noted that the Council’s Regulatory Committee carried out an extensive evidence gathering process’, including public consultations, prior to arriving at this number.

Application process

Applicants must be over 18 years old and applications for the grant, variation, renewal, or transfer of licence must be made in writing and submitted together with the following:

  • correct fee
  • layout plan of the premises
  • picture/sketch of the exterior of the building to be licenced
  • a copy of the premises 'house rules' for performers
  • a copy of the proposed code of conduct for patrons

applicants must also display a notice of the application (a site notice) on or near the premises where it can be conveniently read by the public. The notice must be displayed for 21 days from the date the application is lodged with the Council.  After the expiry of the 21 day period the applicant must submit a certificate confirming the site notice was displayed as required

Within 7 days of the application being lodged with the Council the applicant must also publish an advertisement of the application in a local newspaper within Edinburgh.  A copy of the newspaper in which the advertisement appears must then be lodged with the Licensing Service within 3 days of publication.

Application evaluation process

The Council will send a copy of the application to the following:

  • Police Scotland
  • Scottish Fire & Rescue Service
  • Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre
  • Edinburgh Women’s Aid
  • Equally Safe (Edinburgh) Committee
  • Rape Crisis Scotland
  • Scottish Women’s Aid
  • Zero Tolerance
  • Any community council within or neighbouring the locality in which the premises is situated

The Council must consider any objection or representations when assessing the application. Applicants will be given notice, in writing, of any objection or representations received however the name and address of the person making the objection or representations will not be provided unless they consent. Please review the licensing policy statement for further information in relation to this.


Every application for a SEV licence will be considered and determined at a meeting of the Licensing Sub-Committee. Any objections received in relation to an application, will also be considered at the Committee meeting. In terms of the 1982 Act there are mandatory and discretionaly grounds for refusal of a SEV licence.  The specific mandatory grounds for refusal are set out in Section 9(3) of Schedule 2 of the 1982 Act, and the discretionalry grounds for refusal are set out at Section 9(3) of Schedule 2 of the 1982 Act


The Licensing Sub-Committee is able to grant or renew a SEV licence on such terms and conditions as it considers appropriate. This takes the form of standard conditions which are applicable to all SEV licences. Additional conditions may also be placed on the licence which are specific to the applicant or premises.
The Committee agreed a set of standard conditions on 31 March 2022 and these shall apply to every licence granted, varied or renewed by the Committee, unless they have been expressly excluded or varied.

Application form fees and associated documents

An application form, details of fees and supplementary documents required can be downloaded from the directory