Street trading licence

To operate a market stall, you will need a street trading licence. We operate two types of street trading licences: temporary and permanent. 

You may be able to apply for a temporary licence and trade on a casual basis until you qualify for a permanent licence. An offer of a permanent licence will be based purely on a priority point system.

To determine the type of licence to apply for, you should contact the Market Service direct before making an application.

Applying for a street trading licence

The application fee for both temporary and permanent licences is £75.

We need the following documentation in addition to your application:

  • valid passport
  • proof of name and address, for example utility bill or council tax bill
  • valid public liability insurance
  • two passport size photographs.

These should be personally handed in by you to the Markets Reception. A registration card will then be issued and posted to you. If you do not supply the necessary documentation, the application will be deemed to be withdrawn.

As the application fee is non-refundable, please do not apply before contacting us.

Temporary licence

Once you have your registration card you may purchase vouchers from the Market Services office with a credit/debit card only. To be allocated a trading pitch on the day you will need to show the market officer your registration card, trading voucher and public liability insurance.

Permanent licence

When you complete the application form please:

  • indicate preferred market, preference of working days, commodity and number of pitches required.
  • return your application form to Market Services and wait for an offer letter which will be sent to you by post, within 14 days of receipt of application

If you wish to accept the offer of a licence you will need to complete the offer application form and return personally to the markets office with the £75 application fee. Debit/Credit card payments will be accepted at Market Services, 131 Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ.

A permanent licence card will be dispatched within 14 days detailing commencement trading date. You must comply with any conditions attached to the licence.

Permanent licenses are required to be renewed every three years.

Licence conditions

You must be over 17 years of age to hold a licence.

Licences will be refused if any of the following grounds exist:

  • there isn't enough space in the street you wish to trade in, without causing interference or inconvenience to street users
  • you are unsuitable to hold a licence due to any previous convictions or for other reasons
  • you have previously failed to pay fees due under another street trading licence or have failed to use a previous street trading licence.

You cannot hold a street trading licence for another authority on an identical day of trading.

These licenses are issued under the London Local Authorities Act 1990. See a summary of the regulation relating to this licence

Hot/high risk food

To sell hot/high risk food, there are several extra restrictions in place on a street trading licence. You must comply with the relevant Food Safety Legislation and the following criteria:

  • have a basic food hygiene/Level 2 certificate, or relevant experience of food preparation
  • have completed a Safer Food Better Business (SFBB) pack or equivalent (HACCP type system).  SFBB packs can be ordered free from the Food Standards Agency on 0845 606 0667 or they can be collected from Anchorage House, 5 Clove Crescent, London E14.
  • submit completed food registration forms. Food registration forms can be obtained from Market Services, 131 Commercial Street, E1 6BJ or Tower Hamlets Council’s Environmental Health department. Every food operator is required to register the food business with the local authorities (both Tower Hamlets and the one where food is pre-pared/stored before it reaches the market).
  • trailers/food stalls must have suitable wash hand facilities, i.e. hot water, bowl, soap and towels
  • trailers/food stalls must have a temperature probe to ensure the correct temperatures are maintained.

We will inspect your trailer/set up to clarify the dimensions. In addition, you will be invited in for an interview to ensure all the requirements are fulfilled.

Evaluation process

Within 21days we will either grant the application or you will receive written notification of the outcome of your application. Food traders must conform to requirements set by Market Services and Environmental Health.

A licence cannot be issued unless you supply all the requested documentation.

If you haven’t heard from us within 5 working days, please contact us. Please note that we must process your application before it can be granted. You can contact us by emailing streetmarkets@towerhamlets.gov.uk or calling us on 020 7364 1717 or 020 7364 1707.

Apply

To obtain an application form, please come and see us at our contact address. Alternatively you can request an application on  020 7364 1717 or 020 7364 1707or streetmarkets@towerhamlets.gov.uk and we will post one to you.

You can also apply online through the Businesslink website.

Appeals

If your application is refused or you have a complaint regarding a failed licence please contact Tower Hamlets Market Service, email streetmarkets@towerhamlets.gov.uk telephone no. 020 7364 1717 or 020 7364 1707

Consumer complaints

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 of a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Contact us

Market Services
131 Commercial Street (not Commercial Road)
London E1 6BJ

Tel: 020 7364 1717 or 020 7364 1707
Email: streetmarkets@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Opening hours: Monday-Wednesday and Friday 9am to 4pm, Thursday 9am to 2pm.

Further information