Milton Keynes Council Street Trading Brief

Local Government Miscellaneous (Provisions) Act

The Local Government Miscellaneous (Provisions) Act 1982 gives the Local Authority the powers to resolve to implement Schedule 4 of the Act in order to control street trading within its boundaries and as a consequence can designate any street in the Borough as either: -

i) a Prohibited Street; or

ii) a Licence Street or

iii) a Consent Street.

The effect of the various designations listed above is as follows:

Prohibited Street – means a street where trading is prohibited except for the statutory exemptions e.g. a newsvendor stand, pedlars, delivery roundsman.

Licensed Street – the Council would issue a licence to a trader and specify the days and times which the trading is permitted and the descriptions of the articles to be sold. It may confine trading to a position or location in that street, and conditions and restrictions may be attached. There are limited number of grounds on which an applicant can be refused a Licence. The magistrates court deal with any appeals whose decision is binding on both parties. This arrangement is generally designed to cover street markets and appears to be relevant to situations where trading is to be positively encouraged. There are no ‘Licensed Streets’ in Milton Keynes.

Consent Street – means a street where trading is prohibited without the consent of the Council, who may give consent to trade if it so wishes but it is under no obligation to do so, but unlike a Licensed Street there is no appeal against refusal to give consent. Consents may be granted for up to 12 months with conditions to prevent nuisances etc. occurring. At present the standard consent is for trading to be permitted for up to 3 hours in 24 hours. This can be varied by the committee upon application after 21 days of standard trading in that street.

The Council is empowered to charge reasonable fees. The fee structure is payable in two phases, the initial application fee and when the consultation finishes; a remaining fee is then due to be paid to finally grant the Street Trading Consent Permit. The grant fee is based on how many hours are applied for. A fee table is provided in the application forms.

Since the Council has applied street trading controls to all adopted highway it has provided Officers with extensive and consistent controls over street trading that applies to virtually all mobile traders in the Borough.

A number of Milton Keynes based traders have now formed the Milton Keynes Street Traders Association and are taking legal advice over a range of issues and working closely with Council Officers.

Milton Keynes Council has only ever designated Prohibited and Consent Streets as they then have complete control over the street trading arrangements and this approach has worked satisfactorily since 1988.

Prohibited Streets are generally the grid roads; and some of the main feeder roads into Milton Keynes along with other locations where there have been particular issues e.g. M1 Motorway Service Area. Streets can be designated as Prohibited Streets as considered appropriate to do so, similarly they can be deregulated or changed to a Consent Street.

Consent Streets are generally adjacent to local centres in order to afford some trading protection to permanent businesses.

When the designated area of Milton Keynes new town was created, the highway infrastructure created a number of small spurs that were ideal trading locations as residential and employment areas were developed. Currently few of these locations still remain. As a consequence, the traders have had to either go on to the highway which can result in highway safety, noise or litter issues, or have had to seek alternative locations such as small parking areas adjacent to Milton Keynes Parks Trust land.

The process for designating Prohibited or Consent streets is for the Regulatory Committee to consider a proposal and if minded to move the matter forward then it is advertised as a proposal via a Public Notice in a local newspaper. Adequate time is given for representations to be made particularly if there are existing mobile traders in that locality. The Police and Highways authority are notified along with all members. The Regulatory Committee then considers the matter again where they will receive evidence from any interested parties. If a decision is made to designate the street then a further Public Notice is placed in a local newspaper to this effect stating which streets will be designated as either Prohibited or Consent streets and an effective date.

In order to achieve the right ‘balance’ we developed the ’60 metre rule’ locally, that prevents street trading taking place on any highway land (verges, footways) or private forecourts that are adjacent to and within 60 metres of the centre line of a Prohibited or Consent street. For dual carriageways this is centre line of the central reservation.

The Council’s Highways team issue ‘Tables and Chairs’ licences in order to meet the demand of businesses who wish to develop a continental café culture Table and Chairs application form. As this arrangement is part of the permanent bona fide business it is not considered to be street trading. The licence requires a public footway at least 2m wide to be retained for public access.