Licensing requirements for those who trade in the street

If you trade in the street you may require a street trading consent – applications should be made in writing to the council for the area you wish to trade.

  • download the application form below
  • for more information about street trading consent, email or phone 023 9268 8367

Eligibility criteria

You must be over 17 years of age to hold a licence – consents are either granted in full, with amendments or refused. A set of conditions will be attached to all consents.

Regulation summary

The powers to regulate and issue licences are contained in the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.

Legal requirements for street trading

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 enables councils to control street trading by classifying streets as:

  • licensed street
  • prohibited streets
  • consent Streets

We have resolved to adopt the ‘consent’ status to regulate trading activities for all streets. This is a simpler, more effective means of control – consent streets are defined as ‘a street in which Street trading is prohibited without the consent of the council’, where street means ‘any road, footway, beach or other area to which the public have access without payment’.

We have a general discretion in granting or renewing a consent, but we cannot approve your application unless we are satisfied that:

  • you are at least 17 years of age (no child can be employed or engaged in street trading by their parents as per Section 20 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933)
  • you have submitted your application in writing
  • your proposed trading location will not conflict with our adopted policy guidelines.

To clarify, a street trading consent would not be required for:

  • a pedlar – you cannot set up a stall or stop in any one location for a period of time. You must trade as you travel and not travel to trade
  • a market or fair
  • a trunk road picnic area
  • a news vendor – you must sell only newspapers or periodicals and/or have a stall occupying less than 1 metre in length/width or 2 metres in height. A stall must not stand on the carriageway of a street
  • a roundsman – for example milkmen, coalmen and other persons who go to regular customers
  • a highway amenity for structures on the highway to provide for recreation, refreshment or the production of income – a separate authorisation must be obtained from this service
  • a charitable street collection
  • trading carried out at a petrol filling station
  • trading in and around shops (including in a street adjoining shop premises so used as part of the business of the shop).

We also do not require you to obtain a consent for trading on private land such as a garden, car park or other area where the public are denied general rights of access or have to pay to enter. You may need to obtain planning permission or the express permission of the council (as landowner) if we own or are responsible for the land.

Application process

The council aims to make a decision within 28 days of receipt of a correct application, but it may take a maximum of 60 days. A consent may be withdrawn by the council at any time.

  • You must provide specific information, including details of the street you wish to trade on and the days and times you wish to trade – you must comply with any conditions attached to a licence
  • For information concerning the current fees for the grant and renewal of street trading consents, please contact the Licensing Service at:
  • You will need to supply a copy of your third party public liability insurance in the sum of £5 million
  • You will need to supply details of any other employees or persons who may assist you in your trading

For new applications we will consult with other officers, the Police and Ward Councillors – you must not trade unless your application is approved.

Does tacit consent apply?

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period which is a maximum of 56 days.

If you have not heard from the council within a reasonable period, please contact us. Follow the link to do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service.

Granting or renewing your street trading consent

After you have submitted a fully-completed application we will be in a position to issue your consent, which normally expires annually on 31 March. Sometimes we may grant a consent for a limited trial period. You must provide:

  • The fee shown on the application form (or arrange to pay by instalments)
  • A recent passport size colour photo of the applicant.

If you fail to pay the prescribed fee or fall behind in your instalments we have authority to revoke your consent immediately. Any consent will be granted or renewed subject to special and standard conditions, which will be shown on your consent. Failure to abide by the conditions may lead to a prosecution against you or the revocation of your consent.

Redress and complaints

Applicants or licence holders should contact the council in the first instance.

  • The Highways Act 1980 does not allow legal appeals against a decision by the council to revoke, or refusal to grant/renew a licence
  • A person aggrieved by a decision may seek a judicial review.

If you wish to complain about a trader, we advise that you first contact the trader – preferably in the form a letter with proof of delivery. For further advice please contact us or follow the links below: