The report of Tom Ince (Principal Compliance Officer) seeks to provide the Licensing Committee with the relevant information to make an informed decision on the proposed changes to Wiltshire Councils approved Street Trading Consent Scheme.
Tom Ince (Principal Compliance Officer) referred to his report which sought to provide the Licensing Committee with the relevant information to make a decision on the proposed changes to Wiltshire Councils approved Street Trading Consent Scheme. Tom highlighted the following:
· The current Street Trading Consent Scheme did not currently accommodate those wishing to operate on a round, trading at multiple locations for more than 15 minutes within a single day/week, such as ice cream sellers and village fish and chip rounds;
· Officers had researched how other local authorities operate street trading and they had identified four authorities were operating short term static consents or mobile consents that allowed traders to trade in multiple locations for more than 15 minutes or a single location for a reduced time and rate, allowing traders to apply cost effectively for multiple locations. Advice had also previously been taken from the Council’s legal team in 2012 on whether a multiple site consent could be offered;
· The proposed changes to the scheme would enable the Council to formalise the arrangements for these types of sellers who may be currently trading on Council land and not currently paying a fee and create a level playing field for traders. The second proposed change is to introduce a short-term static consent that would allow traders to trade from a set location for up to 2 days per week for up to 4 hours per day for a reduced fee; and
· Every effort was made to help support traders and there was the ability to set up a monthly payment plan to pay for the fees.
The following questions were asked by the Committee:
Q How would Officers establish which traders from outside of the Wiltshire area that come in to trade within Wiltshire would comply with the new proposed scheme?
A Officers will approach known ice cream van traders to inform them of the proposed changes and they would also contact the neighbouring authorities to inform them of our changes and ask them to notify their known traders. The Council were reliant on the other authorities responding to them, but they would also look to use Council Officers whilst out and about on their business to check with any vendors they see that they have the appropriate consents in place. The Council would also often hear from existing traders if a new trader appeared and did not have the appropriate consent, once in place the scheme becomes self-policing.
Q If the changes to the Street Trading Scheme were to be agreed, how often would a consent be reviewed?
A A consent would roll over (subject to payment of the annual fee) unless any queries or complaints were received about that trader. If any complaints were received Officers would aim to work with the trader and complainant to attempt to find a solution and if the concerns could not be addressed, then the consent could be revoked.
Q My concern is about the knock-on effect on current traders, you are encouraging traders who wish to stay longer that 15 minutes at a location to seek private land to trade from. At the moment they are trading all over the place on private land, so I assume we are not affected by this. Only if traders want to use Council land, I assume this will then apply . Is there any way of bringing in the proposals more slowly as we are hopefully recovering from the Covid crisis so that existing traders could apply over more time as those traders have already got a lot on their plate?
A If the proposals were approved today, Officers would undertake a 30-day consultation which would involve the local Town and Parish Councils and it was hoped that this consultation would hopefully highlight any other traders in each location. Obviously, the Council are not aware of all traders. The possibility of a phased implementation plan could be considered, and Officers could look at a communications plan so that the new options could be put to existing private traders. These traders are usually trading on private land as the cost of an annual street trading consent is quite high and some traders may only need a consent for Friday and Saturday evenings for example and with this reduced fee available for a more flexible consent they may wish to take this up.
Q How many traders could this affect if they now have to be licenced? What is the size of the potential knock on effect?
A The latest information we have is that there are approximately 20 ice cream sellers and less than 10 fish and chip van village runs which are currently trading on private land.
Q Would businesses, such as the Tisbury business have to predefine their locations?
A Yes, the schedule of locations has to be agreed up front.
Q Where I live at the moment there seems to be a different food trader each week, but they are selling from private land so I assume the benefit for this new consent is that they are able to park in more places for longer amounts of time?
Q I am concerned for the local milk stations etc as they need to be 10 metres off the public highway – we were told previously when this scheme was approved in 2012 that it would not affect those selling “from the farm gate”. I have heard of a farmer in another county being unable to leave out an honesty box to sell his eggs. Are milk and eggs etc still able to trade as long as they are 10 meters from the highway?
A There is a specific exemption for goods sold from farms etc that derive from the premises and so these sellers would not be affected and there would be no change for them.
Q What about those that are selling milk on a third parties land – this is a green issue that the Council should be supporting. Will these proposals impact on them and would they need to apply for a consent?
A Officers had previously sought legal advice in 2012 on this issue and the interpretation from legal was that where traders are trading from private land but within 10 meters of the highway, as long as any customers were not using the highway to park then a consent would not be needed.
Q What about electric vehicle charging points – as this can be a business would they need to apply for a consent?
A Electric vehicle charging points don’t come under street trading – they are managed by the Fleet Team.
Q What about the in town and out of town trading. If a business was going to Trowbridge and then on to a village location what would they be charged?
A It depends on the locations that they are trading from. We have stated that you cannot mix the consent and you would need to apply for both an in town and out of town if those are the locations you wish to cover. The consents allow for multiple locations but not a mix of in and out of town locations.
A Committee member felt that there could be reputational damage to the Council when more traders hear of the proposals. Tom Ince reported that no one was necessarily damaged by the proposals as traders can still trade for 15 minutes at a time without the need for a consent. No one is compelled to pay the consent fees if they chose to carry on as they have been doing. It could possibly affect some ice cream sellers who stay in a location for more than 15 minutes.
Q Would ice cream sellers need to apply for a consent?
A Yes if they would if they wished to utilise trading from Council owned land for more than 15 minutes.
Q Was consultation carried out with the existing traders prior to the submission of these proposals?
Q What would happen if a trader wanted to trade at more locations?
A Each consent would cover up to 10 locations and if they wanted more, they would have to apply for another consent for up to 10 locations at a time, i.e. up to 20 locations would require two consents.
Q Is it possible for traders to purchase the more expensive “in town” trading consent and use that trade in and out of town and not have to pay both consent fees?
A I agree this is a sensible compromise and is something that could be considered.
The possibility of being able to purchase an “in town” trading consent which could be used both in and “out of town” was checked with the legal representative who confirmed that it would need to be clearly and carefully worded but this could be accepted as an amendment to the proposal. Tom Ince agreed that Officers would be happy to include the amendment to the proposal.
A Committee member commended officers for the report and how they had approached the issue following the request received from the public. She felt that the Council were looking to support traders and that competition was there to ensure that the public get a good service. .
The Chair highlighted the need to ensure that there was a strong and clear communications plan about these proposals to enable clarity about what traders could/could not do.
That the Licensing Committee agree to revise the Wiltshire Council Street Trading Consent Scheme from 1 April 2021 as below:
1. Introduce a Mobile Consent that would allow traders to trade from up to 10 (pre-arranged) locations, up to 3 hours per week (per location).
The cost of the annual consent is proposed at £ 2,066 for ‘in town’ trading and £1,103 for ‘out of Town’ trading. These fees represent a 50%
reduction on the annual static street trading fee due to the reduced number of working hours available to traders. For those wishing to trade at up to 10 ‘in town’ and ‘out of town’ locations they would only need to purchase an ‘in town’ trading consent and not both consents.
2. Introduce a Short-Term Static Consent that would allow traders to trade from a set location for up to 2 days per week for up to 4 hours per day for a reduced fee.
The cost of annual consent per location is proposed at £1,500 in town and £800 for out of town.
3. That a strong and clear communications plan is shared to ensure that all traders/prospective traders understand the changes to the Trading Consent Scheme.