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Scheme aims to ‘breathe life back’ into market towns

PUBLISHED: 14:25 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:25 08 July 2020

Beccles Town centre.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Beccles Town centre. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

A council is introducing a scheme to boost street and market traders amid the continuing coronavirus crisis.

Lowestoft town centre. Picture: Nick ButcherLowestoft town centre. Picture: Nick Butcher

East Suffolk Council hopes the scheme will make it easier for events to take place and breathe new life in to high streets as the district looks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With some towns in East Suffolk currently subject to street trading regulations, the council – for a limited period – will be viewing street markets, fairs and other related commercial events as community enterprises, which do not need a street trading consent.

The council wants to encourage these outdoor events, during the summer months, to ensure they can be organised with a ‘light touch’ approach.

Therefore, organisers will only be asked to complete a simple application form for a Single Event Trading Licence (which can be used on multiple days), to provide food safety information on what each stall will be selling and Public Liability insurance for the event.

Unlike applications for trading licences, there will be no consultation required with a range of third parties and there will be no fee.

The council’s licensing team is also committed to turning around such applications within 24 hours.

Steve Gallant, East Suffolk Council leader, said: “The Coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on communities regionally, nationally and globally.

“In East Suffolk we have been more fortunate than other parts of the country in relation to the number of people who have directly suffered with the virus.

“However, there is no doubt whatsoever that the pain of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 has been felt just as fiercely here as elsewhere.

“Businesses are struggling and high streets throughout the district are desperate to return to some kind of normality.

“I am proud of the effort of our dedicated teams, and councillors, who have worked round the clock to support our local businesses – and we have provided a wide range of financial support to help them through this horrendous period.

“However, I know that there is more that we can do to inject life in to our high streets where it is most needed.

“One of the ways we can do this is to make it much easier for our market towns to set up community events, with stalls, fairs and market traders, quickly and safely.”

This approach is on top of the decisions already taken by the council to support local businesses, including waiving Pavement Licence fees (of up to £100) for premises to put stalls, tables and chairs on the highway adjacent to their premises; and not requiring a minor variation of Premises Licences (£89 fee) which indicates the land that premises have designated for the consumption of off-sales.

Mr Gallant added: “As a council, the last thing we want to do it make it harder for events to take place to boost our high streets.

“Hopefully, this will now give the green light to a range of activities over the summer, which will help breathe life back in to our fantastic market towns.”

For more information email licensing@eastsuffolk.gov.uk visit www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/licensing or call the team on 0333 016 2000.


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