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

Special treatments include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Bath treatments
  • Cosmetic piercing
  • Electrical treatments such as electrolysis
  • Light treatments. This includes sunbeds
  • Massage
  • Manicures or pedicures
  • Tattooing
  • Other special treatments. This includes semi-permanent skin colouring, vapour, sauna or other bath treatments.

More on Special Treatments types (PDF)

See the list of exemptions (PDF)

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 licences.

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
  • the manner in which the establishment is operated and advertised

London Borough of Waltham Forest Special Treatment Standard Conditions for premises offering Special Treatments. (Word)

Age verification policy (Word)

Lasers and Intense Pulse Laser (IPL) guidance (Word)

Eligibility criteria

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

  • The premises are not suitable (they don't have safe heating, satisfactory lighting, sanitation, ventilation or 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. This is on sale in the locality in which the premises are situated.
  • The notice must be placed within 7 days of applying for the licences. It must also be placed within 14 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 license, the borough council consults with the Commissioner of Police and The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. They 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, 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 28 working days, contact us by email or phone.

Apply online

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.

The following forms need to be completed if you want to add operators/treatments to your existing special treatments licence:

Special treatments fees payable from 1 February 2024

Type of feeFees
Premises offering up to two treatments (Does not include lasers and IPL) *£545 (minimum fee)
Each additional treatment£141
Maximum licence fee (Does not include Lasers and IPL) *£778
Operators additional to nominated licensee(s)£93
Premises offering ear piercing only£245
Premises offering manicure only£466
Laser and intense pulse light (IPL)
(per laser machine)
Copy of a special treatment licence (Requests only considered where the licence has been lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed)£10.50

* Laser, IPL and the addition of operators to be added onto the licence is not included in the minimum fee structure and an additional cost is necessary for each of these. See above for laser, IPL and additional operator fees’.

Payment can be made online

If your application failed

Please contact the council 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. You can do so in the form of a letter, with proof of delivery. If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, GOV.UK gives advice on your consumer rights. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Please contact us 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.



Licensing Section

Town Hall
Fellowship Square
Forest Road
E17 4JF