Councillors told: leave Sidmouth trading as it is
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth looks set to be spared from more widespread street trading after a backlash from businesses fearing they would lose out.
The town was the ‘clear exception’ as other communities welcomed proposals that could see food vans or market stalls given consent to operate across the rest of the district.
In response to an East Devon District Council (EDDC) consultation, 81 per cent of business owners in Sidmouth said the changes would cause problems – but there was broad support if Sidmouth was removed from the equation and councillors have been advised to leave it alone.
A report to the authority’s overview committee, which will meet on Tuesday (November 29), said: “From the comments received, there are a wide variety of views ranging from enthusiastic support for a new regime to implacable opposition to change.
“An immediate and clear direction is probably to leave Sidmouth alone with its current arrangement.”
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Street trading is prohibited across much of East Devon but EDDC proposed to make the whole of the district a ‘consent area’, meaning traders would have to apply for permission to trade on the streets. The Esplanade is Sidmouth’s only ‘consent street’ to allow trading during FolkWeek.
If the responses from Sidmouth are excluded, two-thirds of respondents supported the consent arrangement across East Devon – although most businesses with fixes premises are against the proposal.
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The overview committee report notes that there is a continuing misunderstanding that relaxing the rules would lead to a ‘free for all’, when in fact EDDC would issue licences. It says there is a need to alleviate these concerns.