Under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 anyone selling, exposing or selling anything (including a living thing) in a street within Medway needs a street trading consent.
A street can be any road, footway, beach or other area that the public can access for free, including highway service areas.
Medway Council has designated two types of street:
- a prohibited street, where no street trading is allowed
- a consent street, where no street trading is allowed without consent
All streets in Medway that have not been designated as prohibited streets are consent streets, although specific consent is needed for trading in Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham high streets.
People selling food must also register with the Food and Safety Team, which will offer advice and inspect any vehicles or equipment that they trade from. If they do not live within Medway or store their vehicle there, they should register with their own council.
If you want to sell hot food and drink after 11pm, you must also apply for a Premises Licence under the Licensing Act 2003. You cannot trade after 11pm without the relevant licence.
If you want to trade on the same piece of land for more than 28 days in the year, whether it is public or private land, you will also need to seek planning permission. If you plan to trade on private land with permission from the owner, for example at boot fairs or markets, you do not need street trading consent. You will still need to register with the Food and Safety Team if selling food, and may possibly need planning permission.
Street trading consents are issued for one year and give consent to trade. They do not give consent to trade in a particular place and should it be deemed that an obstruction is being caused, a trader may be moved on by an officer of the council or a police officer.
You must be over 17 years of age to hold a licence. Licences will be refused if any of the following grounds exist:
- there is not enough space in the street you wish to trade in, without causing interference or inconvenience to street users
- you wish to trade for fewer days than any minimum required trading days
- you are unsuitable to hold a licence due to any previous convictions or for other reasons stipulated by the council
- you have previously failed to pay fees due under another street trading licence or have failed to use a previous street trading licence
Application evaluation process
Under certain circumstances, if certain grounds for refusal exist, the council may still award a licence but for fewer days than requested or to allow trade in certain items only.
The council will either grant the application or serve a notice on you within a reasonable time. The notice will be served if the council intends to:
- refuse the application
- grant it on different terms than those applied for
- confine trading to a particular place in a street
- vary conditions of a licence
- revoke a licence
The notice will detail the grounds for its decision and state that, within seven days of the notice, you can request, in writing, the opportunity to make representations.
Will 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 council by the end of the target completion period.
Failed application and licence holder redress
Contact the council in the first instance, using the contact details below. If you wish to appeal a decision of the council, you may appeal to a magistrates' court within 21 days of the date you were notified of the decision. You may appeal the decision of a magistrates' court to a Crown Court.
If you are a customer of a street trader, you should first contact the trader, preferably in writing, with proof of purchase. If that does not work and if you are located in the UK, CAB Advice guide will give you advice. From outside the UK, contact the UK European Consumer Centre.
If there are problems such as noise or pollution or if one licence holder complains about another, please use the contact details below.
Since the introduction of the Medway Act on 21 May 2005, Peddlers' Certificates are no longer valid in Medway. The only street trading in Medway is by consent.
Advertising on a road
It is an offence to place an advertisement for your business on a road, either attached to a post or as a freestanding "A" board. Direction signing to certain types of business is now permitted. Please contact us.
The fees for street trading from 1 April 2012 are:
- Licence - £280
- Consent - £280
- Daily consent (for festivals) - £65