22 February 2023
This is a statement from Cllr Chris Lockyear, the Chair of Sidmouth Town Council, regarding the Town Council’s response to the ongoing Street Trading Consultation:
East Devon District Council (EDDC) are consulting on potential changes to the street trading arrangements for Sidmouth and other East Devon towns. There has been a lot of discussion on this topic on social media and elsewhere and so it is perhaps helpful that the views of Sidmouth Town Council should also be shared.
EDDC’s proposal was discussed by Sidmouth Town Council at its meeting on 6th February where the Council did not support the EDDC proposed full-scale lifting of current restrictions on street trading in Sidmouth. The Town Council are very sympathetic to the view that the bricks and mortar businesses who pay rates, and contribute to the town in other ways, should be supported. It is also aware of the challenges to highstreets posed by online shopping and the changing nature of what brings people to town centres. Street trading can add to the diversity of what is on offer to both residents and visitors alike, but should be the exception rather than the rule. At the moment, there is pretty much a blanket ban on street trading other than during the Folk Festival. Our response to EDDC’s consultation was to seek some flexibility that would allow limited street trading for a small number of streets and events, whilst maintaining what is cherished. Such a common sense approach will hopefully strike the right balance, bringing more footfall and enhancing the economic health of the town, whilst keeping Sidmouth’s unique appeal.
Sidmouth Town Council recommended to EDDC that:
1. The Market Square, New Street, Old Fore Street, Church Street and The Esplanade (road only, including the turning circle at The Ham) should become Consent Streets throughout the year which would potentially allow a street trading licence to be issued a few times a year.
2. The Promenade along the seafront should retain existing restrictions: Trading permitted during the Folk Festival only.
3. Only Town Council supported events should be considered by the Licensing Authority and no licence should be issued without the express agreement from the Town Council after being consulted on all details of the event, including a full list of prospective traders.
4. All other roads/streets should be removed from the list proposed by the District Council as they were not considered to be suitable for street trading and applications would therefore not receive agreement from the Town Council.
Our aim remains a thriving town which is a delight to both live in and visit, and which retains its special character and charm.
Chair, Sidmouth Town Council