Market Failure?: Can the traditional market survive? - Communities and Local Government Committee Contents

Memorandum by the London Borough of Islington (MARKETS 40)


  Thank you again for taking time to visit one of our markets in Islington. We were very delighted in being chosen by your committee to be given the chance of highlighting the issues faced by one of the longest reigning establishments—Street Markets.

You invited comments or ideas that would help improve the running of markets. For this reason we wish to draw the committee's attention to our observations in relation to the London Local Authority Act 1990 (as amended).

The LLA Act 1990 (as amended) was written at a time when street trading flourished. Markets were not threatened by supermarkets, parking restrictions and rigorous regulations. They provided employment from generation to generation and pitches were highly sought after. This is no longer the case. In Islington we recognise that markets still play a vital role in our communities but need increased council intervention to succeed. In deed the only reason Whitecross Street Market was able to resurrect itself was through outside funding and council commitment.

  Regulations in the LLA 1990 (in relation to Street Trading) do not provide assistance for dying markets. In addition to this; the wording and multitude of amendments make the whole Act a challenge to understand and interpret. If abandoning the Act altogether is not an option perhaps the following proposals can be explored.


Section 25(2)Limits applications to individuals. Also means that a trader is limited to trading in one market. Allow applications to made by partnerships or companies (need to ensure no sub-letting though). This would allow flexibility for the licensee to employ staff and allow them to trade on their behalf and also to trade in more than one market.
Section 29If the Local Authority wishes to revoke on grounds that person has not paid fees or charges for four weeks they need to give the licence holder 21 days notice of intention to revoke a licence. This means that the arrears would accrue to at least seven weeks before revocation. This period will extend if the licensee challenges the process. The Local Authority should be allowed to suspend a licence if not paid within two weeks. This would stop the licensee trading and prevent further arrears.
Section 32(2)This subsection give details of what services can be charged for as part of the rent. The list is too restrictive. The Local Authority should be allowed to promote and invest in markets and recover these costs from weekly rents.

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