Mobile food traders

Environmental Health officers often receive calls from traders hoping to set up in business trading from a mobile food van in the borough. However, you will find that the most likely locations are designated as prohibited streets (PDF document [37.3Kb]) by the council.

This means that street trading on any public parts of any of the designated streets is illegal. If you find a street that is not on the prohibited list then you must have permission to trade from the landowner.

It is rare for a site to become available and when it does, it may involve a cost. We do not hear about these sites until they have been let, so unfortunately we cannot take your name and tell you when one becomes available.

The few ways that you can legally sell from a mobile in the borough

  • Where a land owner (such as a private industrial estate) is prepared to allow a mobile trader to set up - note that this will probably require planning permission if it is a permanent arrangement. Please contact the planning department on 01737 276000.

  • When an existing trader closes or moves their business, leaving a vacant site.

  • Occasionally, opportunities at car boot sales and general markets. To find out about these, contact the market operators who may offer sites under a formal letting agreement.

Do not buy a mobile and find a pitch later

The mobile food business is very competitive and we sometimes see very sad situations where hopeful traders have spent lots of hard-earned cash on a good trailer and then realise that finding a site is very difficult. We strongly recommend that you don't part with cash until you are certain that you will not be moved on.

Trading in another council's area

Councils have different approaches but most councils restrict mobile trading. Some run a consent scheme but licence fees can be very high. We recommend that you contact the council who cover your proposed site and that you ensure you complete your business research before you commit to expenditure.

Food safety training

We recommend CIEH Level 2 award in food safety catering - contact the Environmental Health Office if you would like more advice on this.

What to do next

See if you can find a suitable pitch. Prepare your business plan taking as much advice as possible.

Contact Environmental Health and check you meet Food Safety Requirements. Before you open, register your food business with the council.