Agenda item

Street Trading - Review of Street Trading Fees

To consider the report of the Head of Public Protection which reports the results of the formal public consultation and invites the Committee to review the current arrangements relating to street trading consents with the addition of a non-refundable fee for ‘new’ street trading applications.


The Food, Licensing and Markets Manager presented the report of the Head of Public Protection which detailed the outcome of public consultation and invited the Committee to review the current arrangements relating to street trading consents with the addition of a non-refundable fee for ‘new’ street trading applications.


She explained that the fees for street trading consents had not been revised since 2008 and the report did not propose any change to those fees. It was proposed to introduce a non-refundable fee for ‘new’ street trading applications.


She advised that currently no fee was taken from street trading applicants until they started trading and consequently the cost of the application consultation exercise was not covered if the application was subsequently refused. Should an applicant be aggrieved by the Officer’s decision to refuse an application they could request to appeal to the Licensing Sub-Committee and the costs of such a hearing would not be covered by the applicant.


She referred to the consultation detailed in paragraph 3.10 of the report and the objection from an existing street trader which was included as Appendix 2.


She stated that the proposed new fee was set at levels which recover the costs of consulting, administering and issuing consents for street trading activities. The new application fee had been calculated based on an officer time/cost analysis and she provided Members with a breakdown of the costs.


The Chair asked about the costs of consultation and was advised that costs were dependant on the site and who would have to be consulted. Although e-mail was used wherever possible, this could involve mailing letters or a visit. The costs had been calculated on the average time to process applications with salaries and overheads apportioned.


Councillor David Brown believed that the objector had made some good points and he was assured that every effort was made to process applications as efficiently as possible.  He was advised that arrangements differed from authority to authority with some authorities granting consents and others granting licences.


Councillor Gravells believed that the Council should be encouraging enterprise and asked about practices in other authorities.


The Solicitor advised that there was very little street trading in Tewkesbury.


The Head of Public Protection advised that comparisons with other authorities were difficult as it was not known when they reviewed their charges.


Councillor Gravells suggested that the matter be deferred until complete information was available.


The Food, Licensing and Markets Manager advised that at least two of the consents granted in the previous year did not proceed to trade.


Councillor Tracey noted that at a time when many shops were struggling it was not proposed to increase the existing fees and she could not see any problem.


The Officer stated that the new applications fee would enable the Council to recover costs incurred in unsuccessful applications and keep the existing fees at the current level or consider a reduction.


The Vice Chair was informed that the costs of processing were funded by the income from existing traders. He noted that the number of consents had decreased over the last two years. He was advised that the trend was increasing at the time the proposal was first made.


The Officer advised that the Finance Section had advised that the service would just about break even for the previous financial year and due to rising costs, there was no question of a surplus in the current year.


The Vice Chair questioned the imposition of a new application fee when an existing trader required minor changes to an existing consent. He was advised that if the minor changes did not require re-consultation there would be no charge.


The Chair asked if any consideration had been given to offering a discounted fee for existing traders requiring a material change. She was advised that the process, and therefore the costs involved, would remain the same.


Councillor Tracey was advised that refunds could be made if the Council was notified in advance that a trader would not be trading.


Councillor Gravells considered that the information contained in Appendix 3 was incomplete. He was advised that some authorities did not charge a new application fee.


The Head of Public Protection advised that the Forest of Dean District Council operated a shared service with Cotswold and West Oxfordshire District Councils and no response had been received to requests for information.


She advised Members that proposals were discussed with applicants before any fee was required and they were advised of locations which had previously been refused for street trading consents.


The Chair indicated that she was keen to see a discount offered to existing street traders requiring material changes to their licence.


She noted that the Future Work Programme indicated that Members would be requested to review the Street Trading Policy in September 2016 and she suggested that the matter be deferred to that meeting.


RESOLVED that the report be deferred for further consideration in September 2016 as part of the review of Street Trading Policy.



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