Street trading

Information on street trading, renewing or applying for a new street trading consent or licence.

What is street trading?

If you want to sell or offer for sale any article in a street you must have a street trading licence or street trading consent. There are a number of streets in Bristol where street trading is prohibited.

Street trading is regulated under Schedule 4 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 .

If you're selling goods on foot, door to door, place to place or town to town you may require a pedlars certificate (Ask Police website).

Changes to the Street Trading Policy

In February 2017 the Public Safety and Protection Committee agreed the following changes to the council's Street Trading Policy (pdf, 159k) (opens new window) in respect of applications received from 1 April 2017.

Changes to the consultation process

  • the applicant is required to place a notice on site setting out details of the application and information on how to object 
  • the Licensing Team will add application details to an on line register
  • the consultation period is extended to 21 days

Requirements prior to the application being processed

  • the applicant is required to provide written confirmation from the landowner of permission to trade at the application site before the application is processed (unless land owned by BCC)

Changes to the decision making process

  • the Licensing Team Leader/ manager may refuse applications or refer to committee for determination

Renewal applications

  • the applicant shall provide a basic disclosure every three years on renewal

Street trading policy

The Street Trading Policy (pdf, 159k) (opens new window) identifies three designations that can be placed on any street.

  • Licensed streets: if a street is designated as a 'licence street' then applications can be made to trade in articles described in the application on certain days on that street. Applications for street trading licences will continue to be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Prohibited streets: if a street is designated as a 'prohibited street' then a criminal offence is committed by any person engaging in street trading in that street.
  • Consent streets: most streets are identified as consent streets with the exception of prohibited and licence streets.

Street trading guidance for applicants (pdf, 297k) (opens new window)   details street designations and what to consider when you submit an application for street trading in Bristol.

Will tacit consent apply?

Yes. This means that you'll be deemed granted if you've not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period. If representations are received, your application will be placed before the licensing committee for determination.

The target completion period of 150 calendar days will not commence until a complete application is submitted.

How to renew a street trading consent or licence

If you already have a street trading consent or licence and want to renew it you'll need to complete the renewal form (word doc, 39k) (opens new window) and send it to the Licensing Team before the expiry date of your licence.

You can send the renewal form by:

  • post to Licensing Team (Temple Street), Bristol City Council, PO Box 3176, Bristol, BS3 9FS or
  • email to licensing@bristol.gov.uk and make a payment by telephone

Your renewal form should be filled in by the consent or licence holder and accompanied by the relevant fees.

How to apply for a new consent or licence

There are a number of things you’ll need to provide with your application.

You should read our street trading guidance (pdf, 297k) (opens new window) before applying for a licence.

Apply online

Apply for street trading consent on gov.uk website

Other ways to apply

Complete the application form (pdf, 536k) (opens new window)  and the street trading assistant form (pdf, 31k) (opens new window)  and:

  • take it to our Citizen Service Point, 100 Temple Street, Bristol BS1 6AG
  • post it to Licensing Team (Temple Street), Bristol City Council, PO Box 3176, Bristol, BS3 9FS
  • email it to licensing@bristol.gov.uk    

What happens once I submit my application?

After we receive your application a consultation period will start. We'll consult with a number of agencies and you'll need to display a notice at the site you've applied for.

If no adverse comments are received or issues raised the application will usually be decided by the Licensing Manager or Licensing Team Leader.

If adverse comments remain unresolved the application will be referred to the Licensing Manager, or Licensing Team Leader. They may determine the application in consultation with the Chair of the Public Safety and Protection Committee.

They may decide to grant or refuse the application, or refer it for hearing by the Public Safety and Protection Committee.  

If your application is granted fees must be paid. Please see the guidance document for applicants (pdf, 297k) (opens new window)  for further information.

Comments on applications

A register of all current street trading applications can be found in the downloadable files section of this page.

Applications for street trading are normally subject to a public consultation.

For static sites the consultation is targeted at local occupiers who are likely to be affected by the operation of that site. A site notice will be placed at the proposed site providing details of the application.

Due to the extent of an area that a mobile trader may cover targeted consultation is not possible, but all current applications are detailed in the register.

Should you wish to comment on an application your response must be submitted to the Licensing Team within the 21 day representation period.

A full copy of your response will be provided to the applicant (excluding your name, address and personal details).  

Failed application redress

There is no right of appeal to a decision to refuse an application for street trading consent.

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you, preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice Bureau will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.