East Devon District Council

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Guide Street trading consultation

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4. Why we are proposing this change

  • More people are asking us if they can trade on the streets and public support for things like farmers markets, continental markets and Christmas markets has increased.
  • We are very unusual in having so many prohibited streets and such a blanket restriction. East Devon is a local economy typified by small businesses and sole traders. The more modern approach taken by other district authorities is to reduce the number of prohibited streets but make the whole of their district a consent street to keep control of and positively manage street trading. Councils that have done this recently with excellent results include North and South Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Taunton Deane.
  • Local markets present us with an opportunity to promote new start up businesses. Allowing people to set up in a low cost, low risk way and learn what works and what doesn’t.
  • The process of changing the designation of a street or area takes months and is expensive.
  • There is a significant and growing amount of evidence that markets and street trading can have a very positive impact on local areas and their economies, see below:

Study by the Institute of Place Management, April 2015

The conclusions of this study were that local markets and street trading complement and support existing businesses by increasing the amount of people that come to the area by 25%. They also found markets are crucial to the identity of a town. Some of their findings were that:

  • Markets have a positive effect on town centres. Markets encourage more people into towns and 55% to 71% of market visitors spend money in other shops.
  • Markets make towns more able to respond and adapt to change. A market offers more flexible retail space that can meet the needs of changing trends.
  • Markets attract tourists and improve the experience tourists have of visiting an area. They allow visitors to take part in the everyday life of the place they are visiting. 
  • Markets provide jobs and self employment opportunities that are open to all.
  • Markets help sole traders and small businesses set up and grow. • In the sale of local products markets promote sustainability and are places of innovation, experiment and education.
  • People can mix and meet each other at markets or street trading, it helps build communities.

Digital High Street Advisory Board Report, March 2015:

High streets need to adapt in the face of the digital revolution, new types of street markets and mobile trading help high streets to adapt and be flexible with what they offer. The wider retail appeal brought by markets and mobile trading helps encourage people into town centres. They can help pull in consumers who shop on the internet or out of town. It also attracts new visitors and modern consumers to existing towns and other trading centres they had not been to before where they spend money in local shops as well as at the market.