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November 2, 2023

A temporary licence for the continuation of a Sunday market has been approved at a meeting of the borough licensing panel this Tuesday (31 October) despite opposition from a local business. Concerns raised by Daniel’s, a restaurant adjacent to the market place blocked the automatic 6-month renewal of the market’s licence after it was surrendered by the previous management on 18 August.

The main concerns flagged by the objection letter sent to the council focused on the impact on the business of the restaurant. It raised the issue of the alleged use of the restaurant’s toilet by street sellers and the effect it could have on a market already present in front of the restaurant on land that is owned by the landlord.

However, applicant Jim Storrar from Brentford Voice, a community group that will help organise the renewed Sunday market, argued that their market was a continuation of the one that had been there for ten years and would allow local traders to have a gathering spot to sell their wares. The licensing officer stated that over that period the market had never received any complaints from residents.

The application says that although there may be some specialist food vendors present, the market would predominantly be for paintings, prints, jewellery, ceramics, books, and antiques. Mr Storrar in his opening statement to the panel reiterated that it will not have stalls that sell anything that will compete with existing outlets within 200 metres of the market e.g., (coffee and tea, sandwiches, pizza).

Despite a representative from Daniel’s saying that they would be attending the meeting, this did not materialise. Instead, it was up to chair Cllr Amy Croft to flag the concerns raised in the letter.

While it was agreed that there were plenty of other businesses in the vicinity where toilets might be made use of, Cllr Croft did quiz Mr Storrar and his colleague Bob Smith, also from Brentford Voice, about the last point in the letter. This referred to their intention to subcontract the management of the market to an external company which they were going to charge for the individual stalls. It concludes by saying that Daniel’s rival market allows its stallholders to trade for free.

Mr Storrar explained that stalls would be charged up to £25 if they were selling non-food items and up to £65 for food stalls, which he said he didn’t believe would stifle local traders. The application asked for permission for up to 20 stalls to make up the market, something that the objection letter also took umbrage with.

It reads, “They have put way too many stalls and would be very stressful and disruption to our business locally.” However, directing councillors to the floor plan of the market provided, Mr Storrar explained that it there is almost no deviation between it and the previous plan of other markets that have taken place over the past decade which have caused no issue.

Despite the objection, Mr Storrar says he is not interested in a rivalry between the two markets, which would likely be trading side by side on certain weekends. He told LDRS that the objection and subsequent council hearing to get the licence confirmed had pushed back plans for the market by 4 weeks.

Councillor Dan Bowring, who was present at the meeting in support of the market, said he couldn’t speak on behalf of the plan during the licensing panel because he was so sure that the licence would be renewed automatically that he didn’t make representation. The application itself was also subject to scrutiny by the panel.

After explaining that during the initial 6 month period when the licence would be valid until the next renewal the market would likely only run monthly or at most fortnightly, the panel questioned the breadth of the licensing application. In the application, it was requested that the market be licensed for every Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 5pm.

Cllr Richard Foote questioned why having both days was necessary and Cllr Croft added that given such a blanket licence could restrict other applicants’ ability to use the marketplace even when the market wasn’t in operation. After some debate, Mr Storrar and Mr Smith agreed to reduce the application to just Sundays.

After a short private discussion, the panel decided to grant the application with the proviso that the market would be licensed to run fortnightly on a Sunday. Cllr Croft admitted in her closing remarks that she thought the licence should have been for a monthly market but was convinced by Cllr Foote and Cllr Daanish Saeed to allow more flexibility.

Mr Storrar and Mr Smith seem keen to get the market up and running in time for a Christmas market on 17 December and said they hoped the councillors could attend.


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