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Fish and chip vans claim new £400 licence could force them out of business

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 October 2012

Breckland street traders are split on plans to extend a licensing scheme to the whole district

Breckland street traders are split on plans to extend a licensing scheme to the whole district

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Three fish and chip vans have warned proposals for a new £400-a-year fee to trade on Breckland’s streets could be the final straw which forces them out of business.

Breckland Council is considering expanding the area covered by its street trading licence scheme from the current three streets to the entire district.

At the moment the restrictions only apply to King Street in Thetford, and the High Street and part of Middle Street in Watton for the town’s farmers’ market.

The businesses that would be affected include ice cream, sandwich and burger vans and other street traders.

They would have to pay £408 a year, which the council estimates would raise £20,000 from 50 businesses.

According to a council report: “Officers have seen an increasing number of mobile food vendors appearing in roadside lay-bys and on industrial estates.

“These often have a competitive advantage over other traders, having low overhead costs, no business rates and requiring no approval to operate.

“Standards are often variable, with a significant proportion requiring either informal or formal enforcement action by Environmental Health staff in order to protect public health.”

Traders who responded to a consultation over the summer were split on the plans.

Some supported the scheme as a way of dealing with unregistered traders, while other said the fee could push them over the edge.

Markets would be exempt, as would charity fundraising in the street by groups such as churches, scouts and other similar community organisations.

Picnic areas on trunk roads, news vendors, sales from petrol station forecourts and door-to-door salesmen would also not need to apply for the licence.

Any vehicle, trailer or stall used for trading would have to pass an inspection by council officers before a licence was granted.

The council could revoke consent if the activity was likely to cause a nuisance, there was not enough space on the street, the location was dangerous or the applicant was less than 17 years old.

Councillors are expected to approve the plans in December.

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