Guidance for operators of open-air markets and car boot sales
- Definition of an open-air market
- Planning consent
- Giving notice
- After giving notice
- Advertising your market
- Market traders
- Are sellers liable for the goods they sell?
Please note: it is an offence to hold a temporary market, or permit your land to be used for a temporary market, without giving notice. If you do so, you can be fined up to £2,500.
Continue reading if you wish to operate a market in the borough.
An open-air market, or car boot sale, is defined as
- a place where people buy and sell items in the open air and has 5 or more:
- vehicles (whether movable or not)
- pitches from which items are sold
One site can host an open-air market or car boot sale for a maximum of 14 days a year. This is known as a temporary market. For this market you:
- need to give us notice
- do not need planning permission
A site hosting a market for more that 14 days a year needs planning consent.
You do not need to give us notice if your temporary market is to raise funds for charity.
The funds raised are to be used solely, or principally, for the following purposes:
A commercial temporary market must give us notice.
At least 30 days before the day of the market, you must email us at with the following information:
- address and details of the site
- written permission from the site owner
- organiser's full name and address
- proposed dates of the market
- opening and closing times
- details of public liability insurance
- details of any waste contract
You must ensure that health and safety issues are given priority in setting up the site.
A street enforcement officer will contact the organiser to discuss the proposal.
The general site layout will be considered together with:
- the surface and land drainage arrangements
- toilet facilities for stallholders, their helpers and the public
- both on- and off-site parking arrangements
- emergency evacuation procedures
- general fire, noise prevention and safety measures
Other officers may visit the site including those from:
- the police (external site)
- fire service (external site)
- trading standards
- environmental health service
Officers will visit the site when the market is running. Some of these visits will be unannounced inspections.
When advertising your market you cannot:
- put up placards
- put up billboards
- fly-post in the street
If you do, they will be taken down by street enforcement officers and you will be prosecuted.
Both organisers and individual stallholders should have insurance to cover any eventuality.
We maintain a list of people interested in trading at market sites. They have given permission for their details to be passed onto reputable market organisers. If you would like their details, please contact us.
Yes. Particularly with second-hand goods a trader may, knowingly or unknowingly, sell:
- stolen property
- counterfeit goods
- unsafe or otherwise illegal items
Police and council officers have certain powers to prosecute. Members of the public can also bring civil actions.
020 8489 8232
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