Agenda item


The Committee was advised that under the provisions of the Street Trading Act (NI) 2001, a district council had powers to designate and rescind the designation of specific streets or parts of streets as being suitable for street trading. The Act also allowed a council to vary a previous designating resolution in relation to the commodities or services to be supplied in specific streets.  If a street or the commodity to be offered had not been designated under the Act the Council cannot issue a licence for street trading from a stationary position in that street.


The process of considering and reviewing the designation of streets is therefore an essential part of the legal framework within which the Council is enabled to regulate street trading in the City.


The Committee will recall that, at its meeting on 15th February 2023, it had granted approval to initiate the statutory process for the designation of 6 sites at Writers Square and 1 site at Annadale Embankment, which had been identified as a result of expressions of interest received from individuals wishing to trade from new sites. In addition, a previous decision by the Committee to refuse to designate a site in King Street was being reconsidered.


            Based on the information presented, the Committee was requested to consider each proposal in turn and to:


1.          Approve a Designating Resolution to designate the whole street or part of the street (site/s), where it may allocate street trading pitches. The Designating Resolution will include the operational date and may stipulate either:


        Only specified articles, things or services or classes of specified articles, things or services that may be sold or supplied; or

        Specified articles, things or services or classes of specified articles, things or services that are prohibited.




2.        Decide not to proceed with any or all of the proposals.


            In addition to making any Designating Resolution, the Committee might, having considered all comments, record any reasonable conditions that should be applied to a subsequent licence. For example, these might include hours of trade, days of trade, duration of licence.


            The Committee was reminded that, once the site became designated it would subsequently have to consider any applications that might be received for a Street Trading Licence on any of the sites.


            At that time, the Committee would assess the suitability and quality of the proposals and might decide to grant or refuse a licence within the requirements of the Act. Any Street Trading Licence granted might also be subject to reasonable conditions which could be used to control the commodities being sold, potential nuisance, etc.


            The Members were informed that the designation process involved seeking comments from interested parties, including relevant statutory bodies, through public advertisement and consultation.  The Street Trading Act (NI) 2001 required the Council to ensure that each application was fairly and objectively assessed, that all relevant factors were considered and, in doing so, the Council must consult with the:


·        PSNI, and

·        Department for Infrastructure - Roads.


            The Council may also consult other persons as it considers appropriate. Such consultees might include local residents, business and commercial premises in the vicinity of the site in respect of which the application has been received.


            The Committee then proceeded to consider each of the sites in turn:


Writers Square (6 sites)


The proposal was for Commodities to be determined.


The Department for Communities (DfC) own the square and had made the proposal. Any subsequent applicant for a Street Trading Licence would first require agreement from the DfC to use the Square. DfC want to encourage a range of commodities such as arts and crafts, fresh food, hot and cold non – alcoholic beverages. There will be no late night trade.


The DfC has discussed their proposal with Destination CQ Business Improvement District (BID) Board and it had its support.


The Police Service of Northern Ireland and DfI Roads had no objection and no responses were received to the public notice.


Annadale Embankment in layby    


The proposal was for hot and cold non-alcoholic beverages, confectionery, ice cream and cold food or similar commodities.


The Police had no objection and acknowledged that no night time hot food traders sites were being considered.  The Department for Infrastructure – Roads had no objection to the proposal and no responses were received to the public notice.


A.    King Street, second parking bay moving away from Castle Court.


The proposal was for a site to trade in hot and cold food and non-alcoholic beverages at night time.


The Committee was reminded that it had previously agreed to consider a request from Councillor McCusker that the Committee reconsiders its decision, of 10th March 2021, to refuse to designate a proposed new street trading site in King Street.


In seeking to have the decision of 10th March 2021 reconsidered, Councillor McCusker had provided some additional information where the designation applicant had offered to provide security at the proposed trading site on the nights he would be operating.


The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 10th March 2021, it was agreed that, based on the information presented, including concerns which had been raised by both the PSNI and Belfast City Centre Management, the proposal for a site to trade in hot and cold food and non-alcoholic beverages at night-time, at the second parking bay, moving away from Castle Court, on King Street, be refused.


The Members were advised that the designation process was about the principle of a street trading pitch being at the location. Matters regarding the suitability of a particular person, the stall and the ability to manage the site were considered as part of the licensing process.  The person requesting a site to be designated, was merely a ‘trigger’ for the process and they might not be the person who is ultimately granted the Street Trading Licence to operate at the site. The Members were reminded also that on occasions the Committee had considered multiple competing licence applications for street trading sites.


For Members information, the Council had previously considered a number of sites for the sale of hot food at night-time and determined that those sites would not be designated, including another site in King Street.


The Service had received responses to the re-consultation from the PSNI and DfI Roads.


The police continued to have concerns about the potential for disorder in and around the immediate area of the proposed site location. There was the potential for crowds gathering and loitering in unmanaged queues possibly spilling out onto the main road or causing added anti-social behaviour.


The Department had no objection to the proposal.


Belfast City Centre Management (BCCM) had previously commented that King Street was already a busy location for vehicular traffic, with a taxi depot and the West Belfast Taxi Association Terminal and Tourist Information Desk located there. BCCM believed the introduction of a hot/cold food stall to the area would encourage crowds to gather in the evening and this would pose a major health and safety concern for both pedestrian and vehicle traffic. BCCM’s experience had shown hot food stalls introduced to an area has resulted in an increased level of anti-social behaviour, particularly at night time, which was the proposed trading hours for this location.


No update was provided from BCCM, following the cessation of their core funding from the Department for Communities for the engagement and facilitation roles they had carried out in the city centre.


No responses were received to the public notice.


After discussion, the Committee:



Writers Square (6 sites)


Agreed to designate 6 sites at Writers Square for the purpose of Street Trading, the commodities for which to be determined.


Annadale Embankment in layby


Agreed to designate a site for Street Trading in the layby at Annadale Embankment for the sale of hot and cold non-alcoholic beverages, confectionery, ice-cream and cold food or similar commodities.


King Street, second parking bay moving away from Castle Court


Agreed to defer consideration of the site to enable representatives of the PSNI to attend a future meeting of the Committee to voice their concerns.


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