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UK Sex Shop News

2014: Jan-March

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Sign of the Times...

Sex shop business suffocated so that parents don't have to answer innocent questions from their kids

Link Here14th March 2014
Preston's Private Shop sex shop applied for a new sign but has had its request rejected by the local council.

The shop had asked to replace the current anonymous frontage, but the proposed sign was deemed inappropriate by councillors. Area manager Shaun McFaul said:

We had applied to improve the outlook of the shop and the shop's appearance to make it more attractive to people walking past and to customers. Instead of the anonymous front we've got at the moment, we wanted it to be more eye catching.

The request was rejected by Preston Council. Vice chairman, Councillor Carl Crompton, spouted:

If it hadn't had the couple on it would have gone through. But with the couple in, some of the members thought it could possibly lead to younger children asking questions that the adults might not want to answer. It was just inappropriate for something that's opposite the Town Hall and one of the main thoroughfares through the city.



Update: Hoping to Avoid Payback Time...

Westminster Council go to the Supreme Court to fight against compensation and costs resulting from overcharging for sex shop licence fees

Link Here13th March 2014
Full story: Unfair Sex Shop Licences...Court battle over unfairly high sex shop licence charges
Westminster Council has received permission from the UK Supreme Court to challenge the Court of Appeal decision requiring the council to pay large sums in compensation for overcharging sex shops for licences.

European law requires that council licence fees should reflect the costs of administration rather than be used as a tax to raise revenue.

Westminster City Council had charged enormous licence fees way beyond the cost of admin saying that it wanted to use revenues raised to take enforcement action against unlicensed businesses.

The council lost the case and were ordered to pay costs and pay back the overcharge. The council accepted it was wrong to charge the amount it did but refused to accept the costs and restitution charged to it, and took the case to the Court of Appeal the following year. However in May 2013 Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson, Lady Justice Black and Lord Justice Beatson upheld the High Court judgment.

And it is this decision that Westminster Council will challenge in the Supreme Court. Westminster Council will argue its case against: Tim Hemming (t/a Simply Pleasure Ltd), James Poulton, Harmony Ltd, Gatisle Ltd t/a Janus, Winart Publications Ltd, Darker Enterprises Ltd, and Swish Publications Ltd.

No date has yet been listed for the case.



Licensed to Moralise...

Belfast sex shops closed down by council

Link Here2nd March 2014
Back in January local papers reported that six sex shops in the centre of Belfast were under threat after moralists on Belfast City Council's Health and Safety Committee rejected their applications for operating licences.

The shop owners were also warned they could face fines of up to £30,000 if they continue trading without a licence.

The decision to closed down the shops supposedly in response to a few vague complaints from local who residents who voiced concern at the contents of shops on Gresham Street and North Queen Street.

It is believed that the shop owners are considering legal action if they are forced to comply with the council decision. One shop owner expressed his disbelief that shops in Belfast were being refused licences when cities such as Glasgow and Manchester were not.

As a result several shops closed down in February:

  • Bliss Adult Play Things, 1 Smithfield Square West
  • MissTique, 27 Gresham Street
  • Naughty but Nice 2 Smithfield Square



Update: Morality Tax Outlawed...

Councils in the Northwest reduce licence fees for sex shops

Link Here25th February 2014
Full story: Unfair Sex Shop Licences...Court battle over unfairly high sex shop licence charges
British courts recently reminded councils that licence fees should reflect administrative costs rather be used as a morality tax. So there has been a nationwide move to drop the morality portion of the current sex shop fees. Today papers in the Northwest reported on changes in their areas:

Barrow Council has said that the fee for a new sex shop would drop from £2,529 to £197.64.

Oldham has already cut its charges from £4,000 to just £325 - a drop of more than 90pc.

Back in 2007 Stockport had one of the cheapest sex shop licenses in the region. Town hall bosses then hiked the charge to bring it in line with other authorities - but from April are now having to cut it again, from £4,823.50 to £1,655 .

Neither Trafford nor Salford - which currently have no licensed sex premises - are planning to reduce their fees. Salford will continue to charge £4,500, while Trafford is actually putting its charge up by 5pc to £1,478.

Manchester town hall is reviewing its policy. Currently a permit to open a new sex venue in Manchester costs £4,625.



Heart Problems...

Pendle Council drops plans for new logo due to a vague similarity with the Lovehoney logo

Link Here25th February 2014
Pendle councillors have scrapped a new logo after critics said it was too similar to a trademark for an online sex toy shop.

The heart-shaped design, drawn up by Pendle councillor James Starkie, was ludicroously claimed to be too close to international retailer Lovehoney's logo.

Now councillors have voted to go back to the drawing board after the elections after initially agreeing a budget and spending dozens of hours of council officers' time on the project.

Councillor Ann Kerrigan told a full council meeting:

A similar logo belongs to another organisation and it really does concern me because do we want Pendle to share a logo with a sex shop like Lovehoney?

It wouldn't do much for Pendle and I don't think we should be associating our logo with this kind of thing.




London's Erotica lifestyle show cancelled for 2014

Link Here22nd February 2014
Exhibitors have learned that Erotica, London's major sexy consumer expo, which was scheduled to take place in November at London's Tobacco Dock venue, had been cancelled.

A letter from the organisers states:

With regret we write to inform you that we have decided to cancel this year's show. We are not happy with the venue or the limited licensing options available to us by Tower Hamlets council and have decided not to proceed any further with plans for this year's show.

Erotica is one of the best-known consumer events in the UK, reportedly chalking up more visitors than the Ideal Home Show at its peak. It was staged annually at London's Olympia from 1997 to 2011 and has traditionally acted as a curtain raiser on the Christmas season for many adult businesses. The 2012 event was cancelled due to the rising cost of tenancy at Olympia and, after a year's sabbatical, the new format Erotica was staged at Tobacco Dock in East London in 2013.



Update: Healthy Pulse...

A new Pulse and Cocktails store opens at South Cave near Hull

Link Here14th February 2014
Full story: Sex Shops in Hull...The usual trivial reasons cited to get sex shops banned
A new Pulse & Cocktails store has opened up at South Cave, about 10 miles west of Hull on the A63. It is a former Little Chef restaurant overlooking the westbound carriageway.

Graham Kidd, owner of the Pulse and Cocktails chain said:

Our new store is aimed at couples wanting to spice up their sex lives. The store has been specially designed to create a modern, spacious and female- friendly atmosphere for couples to shop together.

The remote location is perfect for us. Recently, we have found a bit of niche by redeveloping redundant roadside diners.

There were only two objections when the company applied to East Riding Council for a sex shop licence for the premises last year . Councillors approved the application after hearing there were no objections from either Humberside Police or nearby parish councils.

The new A63 drive-in will open seven days a week.



Offsite Article: Confessions of a Sex Shop Salesperson...

Link Here4th February 2014
A sex shop can be a lot more than just a place to buy sex toys. It also gives people a space to feel comfortable to speak openly, freely and honestly about sex.

See article from



Offsite Article: People think sex shops are just for weirdos and perverts...

Link Here 19th January 2014
But, really, this is just like any other store. It's bright and clean. It's just that we sell a different product. By Andy Brewin, Simply Pleasure's shop manager in Leicester

See article from



Provocative Sales Figures...

Love Honey and Agent Provocateur report increases in profit

Link Here15th January 2014

There may be an economic downturn, but shoppers are still finding cash to spend on a quiet night in, with lingerie company Agent Provocateur and sex toy firm Lovehoney both seeing sales and profits increase last year.

Agent Provocateur have reported that pre-tax profits have doubled from £ 1.7m to £ 3.8m in the year to March 2013.

Lovehoney profits trebled in the year to 31 March 2013. The company recorded profits of £ 2.25m as turnover increased 51% to £ 23.6m over the year amid strong sales at its web stores in the UK and abroad.



Update: Soho Yupified...

Soho's Walkers Court, an alley of sex shops, set to be cleared for a new property development

Link Here11th January 2014
Full story: Sex Sells in Soho...But the authorities aren't so keen
Bulldozers are set to roll into a historic Soho street after a massive redevelopment was given the green light, despite a string of objections claiming it would sanitise the area.

Soho Estates was given permission to demolish parts of Walkers Court, Peter Street and Brewer Street to create new nightclubs, offices and a restaurant. The narrow backstreet Walkers Court is famous for the scores of brightly lit sex shops and the legendary Raymond Revuebar.

The scheme was given permission by Westminster Council saying that the benefits of removing sex-related uses outweighed their concerns, which included the loss of unlisted buildings of merit , the increase in height of the buildings and the poor-quality studio flats that would be built at another part of the development in Wardour Street.

More than 50 letters of objection were received from residents and business owners, which argued:

The changes would be harmful to the character of the area. The seedier side of the area is one of its vital features, the proposals would sanitise Soho and accelerate the transition to a bland and characterless area.

Members of the English Collective of Prostitutes attended the hearing wearing metallic red wigs and sunglasses and heckled the committee when they failed to mention the scores of sex workers who would be kicked out of the walk-up flats where women had legally been working for decades. They shouted shame on you as the proposals were rubber-stamped. They said:

Excuse me, you haven't raised the harm caused to sex workers when they are thrown out of their flats that they've been in for 25 years or longer. You didn't even mention it.

Offsite: Sex worker reports about what went on during the raid

16th January 2013. See  article from

Now I will NEVER call the police again no matter what happens. They aren't interested in our safety.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Yeah Yeah

28th January 2013. Based on article from

A top detective has denied any connection between police raids on brothels and plans to redevelop Soho.

...Read the full article

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