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Apply for a licence to provide massage and special treatment

Last updated 5 January 2016

Under The London Local Authorities Act 1991 all premises (commercial or private address) offering special treatments (manicure, massage, waxing, sunbeds, tattooing etc.) in Waltham Forest must have a special treatment licence.

Special treatments include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Bath treatments
  • Cosmetic piercing
  • Electrical treatments, e.g. electrolysis
  • Light treatments, e.g. sunbeds
  • Massage
  • Manicure/pedicure
  • Tattooing
  • Other special treatments, e.g. semi-permanent skin colouring, vapour, sauna or other bath treatments

More on Special Treatments types (32KB PDF file)

See list of exemptions (128KB PDF file)

Applications made to Waltham Forest Council may be subject to a fee.

Licences may be subject to conditions.

Special treatment conditions

The legislation allows the Council to regulate special treatment premises and apply conditions when granting licenses.

The conditions imposed may relate to: the maintenance of premises, the number of persons permitted on the premises at any one time, requirement for qualifications for therapists, precautions in relation to; fire, lighting, sanitation and ventilation, hours of opening, safety of equipment, cleanliness and hygiene of the premises and the manner in which the establishment is operated and advertised.

Eligibility criteria

Your application may be refused for one of the following reasons:

  • The premises are not suitable, don't have safe heating, satisfactory lighting, sanitation, ventilation and don't have adequate fire precautions including fire fighting equipment and fire escapes
  • The person who will manage the premises is not fit and proper
  • The people giving the treatments are not suitably qualified
  • The safety of equipment is not satisfactory
  • There is question as to the safety of the treatment being given
  • You have been convicted of particular offences
  • You fail to comply with any legal requirements

Regulation summary

See summary of the regulation relating to this licence on the Office of Public Sector Information website.

Application process

When making an application it is the responsibility of the applicant to place a public notice advertising the application in a local newspaper, which is on sale in the locality in which the premises are situated. The notice must be placed within seven days of applying for the licence and within fourteen days of the application being made one copy of that complete newspaper must be sent to this service. The applicant must also place a notice on the premise advertising the application. The notice must be placed in a conspicuous position (usually the window) and clearly visible to persons passing in the street.

When considering an application for the grant of licence, the borough council shall consult with the Commissioner of Police and The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and shall have regard to any observations submitted by them. In addition, the Environmental Health services are also consulted. Following an inspection of the premise they will submit their observations regarding the health and safety and hygiene suitability of the premise in relation to the treatments being offered. Once all observations have been received, and assuming there have been no objections to the application, the licence may then be issued.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that Waltham Forest Council must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within twenty eight working days contact us by email at or call 020 8496 3000

Apply online

Apply for a massage and special treatment licence.

Tell us about a change to your existing massage and special treatment premises.

Or alternatively:

All the following forms must be completed when applying for a Licence to carry out special treatments:

The following two forms should be completed in full when applying for a Licence to carry out special treatments for the purpose of providing ear piercing or manicure only


Special treatments fees payable from 1 January 2013
Type of fee Fees
Premises offering up to two treatments
Does not include lasers and IPL
£439 (minimum fee)
Each additional treatment £113
Maximum licence fee £712
Operators additional to nominated licensee(s) £75
Premises offering ear piercing only £177
Premises offering manicure only £300
Laser and intense pulse light (IPL)
(per laser machine)

If your application failed

Please contact Waltham Forest Direct and ask for the licensing team in the first instance.

If you wish to appeal against a decision you may do so to the local Magistrates' Court. Appeals must be made within 21 days of the date you received notification of the decision in writing. Magistrates' court decisions can be appealed to the Crown Court.

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, gives advice on your consumer rights. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Please contact Waltham Forest Direct and ask for the licensing team in the first instance for matters concerning complaints relating to another aspect of the operation such as noise, pollution or public health

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Contact details

  • Licensing Service

    Environmental Health & Trading Standards London Borough of Waltham Forest Sycamore House Forest Road Walthamstow
    E17 4SU
    Phone: 020 8496 3000