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A-Z: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Street trading

If you're selling or offering a service in a street or public place, you must have a licence.

Types of licence

There are three types of street trading licence:

  • stationary licence to trade from a designated permanent pitch
  • licence to trade as a mobile trader
  • temporary licence for event

You don't need a licence to sell newspapers or magazines from a holder carried by the sell. Milk men, bread men, coal men and delivery men are also exempt.

Buskers don't need a licence, but if they want to sell items like CDs they must apply for one.

Stationary licence to trade from a designated permanent pitch

We only grant licenses for areas which we've approved for stationary street trading.

If we want to designate new trading areas we will publish legal notices (for 28 days), explaining our proposals, in local newspapers to make sure the public and other organisations are consulted. 

Mobile trading licence

All mobile traders, including ice-cream vans and mobile shops, must have a mobile trading licence which allows them to work within specific areas of Belfast. 

If you're applying for a mobile trading licence you must tell us the route that you propose to trade from in your application form. You must also give details of the days and times you intend to trade.

Temporary licence for events

Even if you only want to sell at a one-off event, you'll need a temporary licence.

Apply well in advance of your event, as we assess all applications separately and liaise with the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Roads Service to decide if your proposal will cause any inconvenience to the public.

Temporary licences for events are only valid for up to seven days. We can only grant traders five temporary licences per year.

If you're applying for a temporary licence, you'll need a map showing the exact location of your planned site. This should be included with your application form. 

Apply for a street trading licence

You can use our online payment system to apply for a street trading licence.

Please read the terms and conditions for online services and our privacy statement.

You can also apply for a street trading licence by downloading the application form below and returning it by post, along with the relevant documents and fees, to:

Head of Building Control Service
Health and Environmental Services Department
Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street 
Belfast
BT3 8BP

You must also include a range of other documents to help us process your application.

What documents are needed to apply?

  • Basic Disclosure certificate obtained from AccessNI (non NI residents can get details of how to obtain a similar certificate by contacting us)
  • Electrical test certificates for all portable electrical appliances used and any generators.
  • Gas Safety certificates for all gas appliances, connections, flues etc used.
  • Certificate of maintenance of any fire extinguishers used, especially where gas or electrical equipment is being used.
  • Relevant MOT test certificate for any vehicle used in the trading activity.
  • Evidence that you have registered, or applied for registration with the relevant local authority for food hygiene and health and safety (if required).

Timescales

Tacit consent does not apply.

It is in the public interest that Belfast City Council must process your application before it can be granted. The Police, Transport NI (Roads Service), local residents and local shops and other street traders have a legitimate interest in the outcome of street trading applications.

Tacit consent does not apply to minimise the risk of a licence being granted inadvertently and subsequently resulting in public disorder, removal of protection to the public and a cumulative adverse environmental impact on the vicinity of the trader. If you have not heard from the council within a reasonable period, please contact us.

Whilst Tacit Consent does not apply, we will strive to notify all applicants of the outcome of their application, including issuing the licence, within 10 working days of the council decision made in relation to the application.

The council must give written notice of its decision within a reasonable time.

Please allow a minimum of 28 days from the date of receipt for us to process your application for a stationary or mobile street trading licence.

The application for a temporary street trading licence needs to be submitted at least 42 days before the event.

Appeals

You have the right to appeal our decision if:

  • an application is refused
  • a licence is revoked
  • terms, conditions or restrictions are imposed

The council will serve a notice of its intention and appeals must be lodged to the council in writing within 21 days of the date of the notice informing you of the decision.

If the council upholds their decision, appeals can be made to the magistrates court within 21 days of the notice of the final decision.

If an application for a temporary licence is refused the applicant can appeal to the local magistrates court within 21 days of the date of the notice of the decision.

Illegal trading

Under the Street Trading Act, our officers can seize any property,goods, holders, equipment, stalls or vehicles if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that someone is trading illegally.

Illegal traders can be fined up to £1,000 and we can have the seized goods destroyed.

Fees

Licensing fees should only be paid once we have decided to grant or renew your mobile or stationary street trading licence. 

Fees for mobile and stationary street trading licences 

Types  Application fee (non-refundable) Nature of licence
Licence fee per year   Licence fee per year (discount rate)* Licence fee per month Licence fee per month (discount rate)*
             
Mobile  £120 Monday to Fridays £429 £407.55 £53.75  £39.96 
Saturday £199 £189.05 £16.58 £15.75 
Sunday £254 £241.30 £21.17 £20.11
Monday to Saturday £628 £596.60 £52.33 £49.71
Monday to Sunday £882 £837.90 £73.50 £69.83
             
Stationary  £100 Monday to Friday £629 £597.55 £52.41 £49.79
Saturday £426 £404.70 £35.50 £33.73
Sunday                         
£472 £448.40 £39.33 £37.36
Monday to Saturday £800 £760 £66.66 £63.33
Monday to Sunday 
£1017 £966.15 £84.75  £80.51

 

* A five per cent discount is available if you want to pay the total fee in full, or monthly, via standing order through your bank or building society.

You can also pay monthly in person at our offices, located on 5th Floor, 9 Lanyon Place, Belfast, BT1 3LP, or via cheque or postal order. However, the full cost applies. If you pay this way, the first monthly payment must be made by cheque or postal order before your licence is issued. All cheques and postal orders should be payable to Belfast City Council.

Fees for temporary street trading licences 

Type  Application fee (non-refundable)  Nature of licence  Licence fee per day 
Temporary  £120 Monday to Friday £26 
Saturday £36
Sunday or public holiday £45 

Fees for variations of a street trading licence

Types   Fee
Variation of licencing particulars   £50

Location of areas approved for stationary street trading

Stationary licence holders can only trade on designated sites. 

This document shows the number and location of all designated pitches in Belfast. It also outlines the items which can be sold on each pitch and whether the pitch is currently available.

If you're interested in applying for a stationary licence, you should check this information first to make sure your planned location is a designated pitch, and is available.

Policies 

Queries

If you have any queries or complaints, or to find out if a licence has been issued, please contact us.


Contact us
Building control
028 9027 0650
Building Control
Ground Floor
Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street
Belfast
BT2 8BP