Street trading policy for West Suffolk opens for final feedback

A new West Suffolk wide policy to regulate street trading, shaped in direct response to public feedback earlier this year, has gone out for a final consultation.

Street trading includes outdoor retail and catering in public streets but does not include the council’s markets which are covered under different regulations.

Earlier this year, West Suffolk Council asked street traders, residents, businesses and other stakeholders to take part in a survey where they could give their views over the positive and negative impacts of street trading and their views on what regulation there should be.

The survey found that most of the respondents, were in favour of there being regulation to help deal with any issues such as litter, and poor quality of goods. They backed an approach whereby any street trader would need to apply for licensing consent from the council.

The majority of people responding also said criminal records checks should be carried out.

The council has listened to that feedback and has now written a draft street trading policy which it is putting out for public consultation.

Under the new policy traders would undergo a DBS check. A criminal record that involves sexual violence, especially involving children, or previous serious fraud charges, including the sale of counterfeit goods, would be immediately rejected. A criminal record involving other crimes would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The council has also looked at what it would cost to administer the new policy such as the necessary checks to decide an application and the support related costs such as waste collection and enforcement. This is to ensure that the costs of street trading doesn’t place a burden on taxpayers.

From that the council has calculated a fee of £409 per year for street traders while organisers of large events with multiple street traders would be able to make a single blanket application to cover all their traders.

This new fee is lower than some already licensed street traders pay currently and while the council acknowledges that there will be others who haven’t been paying anything due to the previous lack of regulation, the new policy, once adopted, will see a fair and consistent approached adopted for across the district.

Gerald Kelly, cabinet member for Governance, Regulatory and Environment at the council, said: “Street trading, if it is well managed, can be largely positive, creating opportunities for small businesses including start-ups, promoting choice and encouraging footfall.

“Through our public engagement earlier this year, we have asked people about what the level of regulation should be and how we get the balance right to support local businesses and the sustainable growth of our economy while also serving the interests of our residents and visitors.

“We have asked and listened and have now created a policy that aims to regulate and manage street trading in a way that is fair and consistent for all.”

The survey, which will run to August 5 can be found online at

Further information from the public engagement can be found at the webpage above.

Anyone unable to take part online, can contact or phone 01284 758050 to request a paper copy.

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