How do I become a street trader?

If you want to sell an item on the streets of Sandwell you cannot just stand on a street corner and trade. You need legal permission from Sandwell Council to trade on the street in the form of a document called a "consent". There is a set process that the council must follow before they will grant you consent. This is a legal requirement that is part of providing you with the security you need to trade on a specific street day after day.

If you would like to apply for a consent then the first step is to write to the Market Manager at the Markets Office. In your letter you need to include some essential information. Firstly, we need your name, address and a contact number together with your national insurance number. We then need some details about how you plan to trade. You will need to let us know what you will be selling and what type of stall or display you will set up. This may be a simple table, a barrow or a van. We will also need to know how big your stall or display will be, so we can understand how much space on the street you want to occupy.

Importantly, we also need you to pin point the exact place you want to trade from. You should include a sketch map, ideally with measurements, to tell us how far you intend to be from shop frontages, road junctions, pavements etc.

When we have your letter with all the relevant details we will then commence the process of applying for your consent. This involves some consultation with the public including publishing your application in local newspapers. Applying for a consent is not a quick process. You should allow up to three months for a decision on whether you will be granted one. The process is complicated, but we will be here to guide you through it. Before you begin applying for a consent we suggest you call the Market Manager on 0121 553 3074 to discuss your requirements.

A quicker way to get a consent is to take up a consent that has become vacant. This already has a consent to trade but is not being used at present. You can be trading from these locations within a few days.

Once you have your consent Sandwell Council will grant you the right to trade from the site specified on the consent. There will also be terms attached to this consent and the Council are obliged by law to check from time to time that you are abiding by these terms.

Street Trading Consent: The Legalities

Sandwell Council regulates street trading under powers adopted from the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provision) Act 1982.

Sandwell Markets Service regulates Street Trading powers granted to it following its adoption of the relevant section of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. Under this Act, street trading means, subject to certain exceptions, the selling or exposing or offering for sale of any article (including a living thing) in a street. A "street" includes any road, footway, beach or other area that the public has access to without payment and a service area as defined in section 329 of the Highways Act 1980.

Currently, the Council chooses not to implement the legislation on privately owned land, as long as the seller does not vend his goods directly onto the public highway. For example, catering vans located wholly on a private industrial estate, which do not vend their goods onto the public highway, are currently not subject to enforcement under the adopted legislation. This is not to say however that other permissions, such as planning permission, would not need to be sought. Advice regarding planning requirements may be obtained from the Council's Planning Section on 0121 569 4054.

Sandwell Council gives authorised street traders "consent" to trade at specific locations in specific streets under specific conditions. The details of the street trading consents may vary from trader to trader, as the Council deems appropriate. Street Trading Consents primarily control traders who operate from a stationary van, cart, barrow or other vehicle, or from a stationary stall.

The Council operates a scale of charges for street traders that vary depending upon the location, size of pitch and mode of trading and the length of time spent trading each week.

For more information on Sandwell Markets Service please contact:

West Bromwich Market Hall
New Market Hall
Kings Square
Sandwell Centre
West Bromwich
B70 7NW

Tel: 0121 553 3074
Fax: 0121 553 3966
Opening Hours: Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 8.30am - 5.30pm, Wednesday 8.30am - 4.00pm, Tuesday and Sunday closed