Agenda item

Street Trading Consent in the Vicinity of Schools

The purpose of this report is to ask the Committee to endorse the development of a draft street trading policy.




The Committee considered a report setting out a proposal to develop a clear street trading policy for approval by Council in due course.  The proposal arose from complaints made by Head Teachers concerning the siting of mobile ice cream vendors close to school premises, during discussions with staff in the Public Health Directorate. At one school a severe near miss with a pupil running into the road obscured by an ice cream van had led the school to take the action to bring the ice cream van onto school grounds to reduce road safety risk.


Members were advised that, under the Local Government (Miscellaneous provisions) Act 1982 anyone selling or exposing or offering for sale any article (including a living thing) in a street within Medway needed a street trading consent.  Medway Council had two types of street, these being a prohibited street (where no street trading was allowed) and a consent street (where no street trading was allowed without consent).  However, there was currently no policy concerning the granting of street trading consents. Medway Council had a commitment to reducing childhood obesity and improving dental health. This was accomplished in part, by supporting both schools and parents to promote healthy eating with their children and the siting of mobile food vendors in the vicinity of schools and on school premises was considered to undermine this aim.


Members views were therefore sought on the possibility of introducing a policy restricting where and when mobile food vendors could sell their products in the vicinity of schools.  With reference to examples of such policies introduced by other local authorities, it was suggested that ’exclusion zones’ of 800m might be introduced around schools between 1200 and 1600 hours. Roads which had schools on them may also be deemed prohibited streets.


Members raised a number of concerns about the proposal, as follows:


·         The financial cost of operating a street trading policy would need to be established in order that the budgetary implications were clear.

·         An ‘exclusion zone’ of 800m around schools could directly effect all areas of Medway. The restriction on hot food takeaways in the vicinity of schools was 400m and the two policies should be consistent.

·         ‘Exclusion zones’ between the hours suggested would not cover after school activities.

·         Given the relatively small number of ice cream vans in Medway, was there a need to introduce such a policy based on one incident?

·         Were the resources available for effective enforcement?

·         If the siting of ice cream vans was restricted, people would simply use nearby retail outlets instead.

·         There were other ways to tackle the issue of childhood obesity, for example restricting street trading on specific roads where schools were located. This could be more effective than a blanket policy which might be too restrictive to gain public support.

·         An alternative more targeted approach would be to add a condition to a street trader’s licence, if appropriate, regarding the siting of their vehicle.

·         A blanket policy would not be workable from a health perspective. However, imposing additional conditions of licence would be effective in terms of road safety. Conditions could include a requirement to park responsibly in a safe place.




The Committee asked that officers:


1.    Develop proposals for additional conditions to be applied to street trading licences to help ensure that traders operated safely in the vicinity of schools.


2.    Report back to a future meeting of the Committee before consulting the trade on the proposals.

Supporting documents: