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 on a priority point system. Traders will be informed when they qualify and are given the opportunity to complete an application.
We issue street trading licences to named individuals to sell on the markets. To apply for a licence please read the information and complete the application.
Applying for a street trading licence
From May 2023, the application process will move online after investing in a new IT system.
This will make it easier for new and current traders to renew their licences.
We need the following documentation along with your application:
- valid passport
- Visa – with proof of working status in UK – if applicable
- EU settlement certificate – if applicable
- valid public liability insurance (minimum cover £5 million)
- a photograph of the applicant (similar to passport standards)
- proof of name and address. We accept any of the following:
- valid UK driving license
- recent utility bill (gas, electricity, water or landline phone)
- Council tax bill
- recent credit card or bank statement
- recent Building Society or Credit Union statement
- tenancy agreement
Public Liability Insurance – Contact Numbers
NMTF (NATIONAL MARKET TRADERS FEDERATION)
Tel: 01226 749 021
Hayes & Parsons
Tel: 01179 299 381
Combined market traders insurance association
Mr Joe Barnett
Tel: 07956 466 417
Tel: 020 7618 2929
Visit the Marketline website for more information.
There are restrictions on traders selling Category 1 Ladies Outerwear at Whitechapel market. No applications will be considered at this time for this product.
Apply for a street trading licence
Temporary licence - Non food
Once you have your registration card, temporary pitches will be allocated on the day of trading by the duty Market Officer. When a pitch is booked an email is sent to a traders account with a link to make payment.
An offer of a permanent licence will be based on a priority point system. Traders are informed when they qualify and are given the opportunity to complete an online application.
Payment for permanent pitch fees are due every four weeks and due in advance. You must comply with any conditions attached to the licence.
Permanent licenses are required to be renewed every three years, at the renewal period.
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
We are now able to take new expressions of interest to sell hot food in the borough’s markets. Please email email@example.com. This will also be moving to an online application soon.
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 Tower Hamlets Town Hall, 160 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1BJ
- Email completed expression of interest form and requested documents to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Every food operator is required to register the food business with the local authorities (where food is pre-pared/stored before it reaches the market).
- have a food inspection report and food rating of 4 or 5
- trailers/food stalls must have suitable hand wash facilities, i.e. hot water, bowl, soap and towels
- trailers/food stalls must have a temperature probe to ensure the correct temperatures are maintained.
You will be invited in for an interview to ensure all the requirements are fulfilled.
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 five working days, please contact us. Please note that we must process your application before it can be granted. You can contact us
Tel: 020 7364 1717
To get an expression of interest form please email email@example.com.
For further information please call 020 7364 1717.
If your application is refused or you have a complaint regarding a failed licence please contact Tower Hamlets Market Service.
Tel: 020 7364 1717
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.