5. APPLICATION FOR RENEWAL OF A SEX ESTABLISHMENT LICENCE ‘PILLOW
TALK’, 30 RAILWAY APPROACH, EAST GRINSTEAD (DCD)
(Item LIC 1 2003/04)
1.0 INTRODUCTION AND DETAILS OF THE APPLICATION
1.1 This report relates to an application dated 14TH APRIL 2003 for renewal of a Sex
Establishment Licence and, which is subject to objections.
1.2 The premises are: -
30 Railway Approach, East Grinstead, West Sussex
and the applicant is: -Mr Alan David BUTLER of Moorings, 3 Chevington Villas,
Godstone Road, Bletchingley, Surrey, RH1 4LT.
1.3 The application is for the renewal of a Sex Establishment Licence for the premises to
permit sale of Lingerie, Glamour wear, Sex Aids, Magazines and Videos, as below: -
Monday to Thursday… 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 pm
Friday…………………..10.00 a.m. to 8.00 pm
Saturday………………..9.00 am. to 6.00 pm
Sunday – It is also desired to trade on 2 x Sundays preceding Xmas.
2.1 30 Railway Approach, East Grinstead, is a terraced retail property comprising of two
floors and a basement area used for storage. It is located in a retail/commercial and
residential street within the outer fringes of East Grinstead town centre and is on the
periphery of a residential area. The street, as is suggested by the name, gives
access from the town centre to East Grinstead Railway station, which is some 450
yards distant. A bus stop is located immediately outside of the premises. No schools
or churches are situated in the immediate locale however development of a nearby
car park to locate a community centre, on behalf of The New Downland Housing
Association, has recently been approved, which if built will be some 60 yards distant.
2.2 Railway Approach, has since the opening of the Sex Shop, been modified as part of
the East Grinstead Town Centre Development Plan and is now a two way street with
access from both ends.
A site plan is attached.
2.3 The applicant, Mr Alan David Butler, states that he owns the freehold of the property
and originally traded from the premises, known as ‘Pillow Talk’, as an unlicensed sex
shop since 12th August 2002.
2.4 Following application and consideration by the Licensing Committee the initial sex
establishment licence was granted on 1st November 2002.
3.0 RESPONSES FROM STATUTORY AND OTHER CONSULTEES SUCH AS
COUNCILLORS AND RESIDENTS
3.1 Letters of objection have been received from one District Councillor and one local
business person. (Copies of these letters are attached).
3.2 The principal concerns expressed in the letters may be summarised as: -
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• The need for such premises in East Grinstead with many local residents
expressing the view that one such premises is one too many.
• That such an establishment is inappropriate for the centre of East Grinstead
• Railway Approach forms one of the pedestrian gateways from the town
railway station to the town centre.
• The premises will be unneighbourly to the soon to be built Community
Resource Centre and will not fit within plans to upgrade Railway Approach.
• Concern that the establishment might lead to activity having a detrimental
influence, particularly on vunerable local people
• The potential of the premises to attract paedophiles and concern that children
use the nearby bus stop and sweet shop.
3.3 No planning objections were originally raised to the grant of the licence
3.4 West Sussex Fire Brigade Fire Safety personal have inspected the premises and
confirm that means of escape from the premises is satisfactory and the fire fighting
equipment provided is appropriate and adequate.
3.5 No observations have been made by Sussex Police.
4.1 The power to licence Sex Establishments i.e. sex shops and sex cinemas is
contained in The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. Mid
Sussex District Council adopted the appropriate provisions of the legislation on 3rd
4.2 Definitions under the Act (Condensed in the interest of brevity)
A Sex Establishment means a Sex Cinema or Sex Shop
A Sex Shop means any premises, etc used to a significant degree for the selling,
hiring, exchanging, lending, displaying or demonstrating
(a) Sex Articles
(b) Other things intended to stimulate or encourage 1. Sexual activity 2. Acts of force
or restraint associated with sexual activity.
4.3 A licensed Sex Establishment may have conditions attached to the licence by the
Local Authority. Such conditions may govern the hours of opening, window displays
4.4 In considering the application for renewal of this licence members have a limited
degree of consideration. The statutory grounds for refusal are limited to
• Suitability of the applicant
• The applicant is acting as a front for persons who would not be considered
• That the members consider there is an inappropriate number of licensed
establishments in the area
• That renewal would be inappropriate having regard to
1. The character of the relevant locality
2. The use to which any premises in the vicinity is put
3. The physical makeup of the premises is unsuitable
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4.4.1 Members are advised that there has been no change in circumstances in the area
since the licence was granted in November 2002, other than the change of Railway
Approach from a one-way street to two-way traffic flow.
4.4.2 In November 2002 Members were made aware of the outline planning consent for
the proposed Community Centre and associated housing to be built in the car park
off of Railway Approach. Members are advised that such a matter would only be
considered relevant once the premises were constructed.
4.4.3 An unlicensed sex shop is not governed by the legislation and may trade providing
that a ‘significant’ quantity of sex articles is not sold. (Neither case law or this Local
Authority has, to date, defined the meaning of the term ‘significant’).
4.4.4 An unlicensed sex shop is not governed by the conditions applicable to a licensed
4.4.5 The decision of the members in relation to this application will not lead to the closure
of the premises. If a licence is refused the shop is entitled to continue to trade with a
different ratio of stock provided that a “significant” amount is not exceeded.
(Infringement of which would have to be subject of further enforcement action).
Only market forces will lead to closure of the premises.
4.5 The applicant seeks to renew the licence for the premises, which would allow him to
continue to sell wholly sex articles and other things including R.18 videos (explicit
sexual content), which may only be supplied from licensed premises
4.6 It is suggested that if the Committee is minded to approve this application,
consideration should be given to: -
(1) Re - attachment of the existing conditions to the licence.
(2) Outlining on what days and for what hours the shop may trade.
4.7 It is suggested that if the Committee is minded to refuse this application
consideration should be given to the difficulty in: -
(1) Defining what quantity of sex material may be sold before it is considered that a
‘Significant’ quantity of goods has been reached.
(2) Providing guidance as to how a ‘significant’ quantity of goods is to be calculated.
i.e. percentage of display area devoted to sex material/ percentage of gross annual
or monthly turnover etc, or a combination of both.
It should be noted that that case law indicates that no single factor is decisive when
deciding whether the quantity of sex articles sold constitute a significant degree of
the business. Setting a percentage figure, above which a licence is required, should
not therefore be the sole method of assessment. Other relevant factors may include
the absolute quantity of sales, the character of the whole business and the nature of
the display of articles
5.0 RISK MANAGEMENT STATEMENT
In accordance with the Councils risk management strategy; consideration has been
given to the potential risks associated with this application. No new risk have been
identified since the grant of the original licence
6.0 LEGAL IMPLICATIONS
See 4 above.
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7.0 FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
There are no financial implications arising from this report
Members are requested to consider the application
Files held in the Environmental Health Division.
HUMAN RIGHTS ACT IMPLICATIONS
. Members are asked to consider the human rights implications for both the licensee who has rights under
Article 1 of the First Protocol, the Right to Property (which includes the licence): and the objectors who
have rights under Article 8 to Respect for Private and Family Life, and Article 1 of the First Protocol, their
right to enjoy peaceful use of their possessions.
COMPLIANCE WITH PROTOCOL WITH TOWN AND PARISH COUNCILS
The recommendations of this report comply with the Protocol with Town and Parish Councils as the
relevant Council has been consulted with respect to this application.
COMPLIANCE WITH CODE OF PRACTICE ON COMMITMENTS
No significant financial implications have been identified as arising from this report.
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ATTACHMENT. Plan and aerial photograph
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