Agenda item

APPLICATION FOR A GRANT OF A STATIC STREET TRADING LICENCE

To consider an application for the grant of a static Street Trading Licence submitted by Mr Arion Zouliatis on behalf of ‘The Sweet Greeks’, to trade from a location adjacent to St Swithuns Church,The Shambles, Worcester.

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee considered an application for a Street Trading Licence, made by Mr Arion Zouliatis on behalf of ‘The Sweet Greeks’, to trade from a location adjacent to St Swithuns Church, The Shambles, Worcester.

 

At the start of the hearing, the Chair made the following statement: “Presentations to this Sub-Committee are not given under oath. However, I would like to remind all parties that the highest standards are expected and any deviation from these high standards could possibly influence any decision of the Sub-Committee.”

 

All parties at the hearing introduced themselves. Mr Zouliatis had chosen not to have any legal representation, but was instead accompanied by his business partner and his business advisor. Mr Zouliatis stated that he was satisfied with the proposed procedure.

 

The Legal Services representative summarised the matter for consideration. The matter had been referred to the Sub-Committee for determination by Worcestershire Regulatory Services as an objection had been received from the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT).

 

The Legal Services representative explained that in accordance with the

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, Schedule 4, a street trading licence application could only be refused on one of two grounds:

1) That there is not enough space in the street for the applicant to engage in the trading in which he/she desires to engage without causing undue interference or inconvenience to persons using the street; and/or

2) That there are already enough traders trading in the street from shops or otherwise in the goods in which the applicant desires to trade.

 

The Technical Officer (Licensing) presented the report on behalf of Worcestershire Regulatory Services. All parties were given the opportunity to ask questions of the Technical Officer (Licensing).

 

Mr Zouliatis was invited to address the Sub-Committee in support of the application. He explained that they had been trading from a tricycle cart for 4 months offering speciality Greek desserts, cakes and hot drinks. He believed that the Sweet Greeks offered something different to other shops and cafes in the area.

 

Mr Zouliatis informed the Sub-Committee that currently the Sweet Greeks were required to move the cart every 30 minutes to different locations, without returning to the same location within 3 hours. They now wished to secure a static spot from which to trade. They believed that the location adjacent to St Swithuns Church would not hinder pedestrians or vehicles, and contrary to the representations made by the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), would not block either of the Churches’ emergency exits.

 

Mr Zouliatis referred to the objection from the CCT that the Sweet Greeks’ cart would have a negative aesthetic impact on the location, and responded that the cart was much more aesthetically pleasing than the hot dog/burger stand which had previously traded from the same location. Furthermore, Mr Zouliatis confirmed that the cart would be removed at 6pm each day, which would minimise any impact on evening events held at the Church.

 

With regard to the fire exits, Mr Zouliatis had measured the distance between the doors to be 6.9m. His cart measured 3 x 3m, so he did not believe there would be any issue with obstructing the fire exits.

 

Sub-Committee Members enquired whether the Sweet Greeks planned to trade according to the hours on their application, i.e. 8-6 Mon to Sat and 9-5 on Sun. They confirmed they planned to keep their hours flexible, depending on local conditions.

 

Sub-Committee Members asked the applicants if there were any issues with customer littering, since the cart did not offer a bin facility. They replied that their offer was takeaway, so customers tended to take their purchases to their homes and workplaces, or otherwise used the bins on the high street.

 

The applicants confirmed they had no plans to introduce customer seating in the vicinity.

 

The applicants told the Sub-Committee that they wished to work together with the Church and other neighbours and would be happy to move their cart if the Church was holding a special event – or alternatively they would be very happy to work together with the Church to offer a service for event attendees. They added that their cart was easily manoeuvrable and could be pushed away quickly if required.

 

The CCT representative was asked if he would like to ask the applicants any questions but replied that his questions had been answered by the applicants. He was invited to address the Committee regarding the CCT’s objections to the application.

 

The CCT representative explained that in their opinion the location of the cart would be unsympathetic with the aesthetic feel of the historic conservation area. He suggested that St Swithuns Church was an iconic building in the City Centre which wouldn’t be enhanced by the Sweet Greeks’ cart, which would cause a pinch-point in the area.

 

Sub-Committee Members reiterated to the CCT representative that whilst they appreciated the CCT’s perspective it was only possible to refuse the application on the grounds previously described. The CCT representative confirmed he understood this.

 

All parties were given the opportunity to make a final statement. The applicants reiterated that their presence at the requested location would not cause any obstruction, they would only be trading during the day and would take their cart away in the evenings. They would be happy to work with the Church if there were events taking place in the building. They considered the current arrangement of having to move every 30 minutes was detrimental to their business as customers sometimes struggled to find them.

 

The CCT representative suggested the application should be turned down on the grounds of aesthetics and that it would potentially obstruct the Church’s emergency exits.

 

The Legal Representative offered the following legal advice to Members when considering their decision:

 

·        That the Sub Committee should consider the legislation which says the council shall grant an application unless they are satisfied, upon considering evidence presented to them, that there is insufficient space in the street or that there are already enough traders in the street from shops or otherwise in the goods in which the applicant desires to trade.

 

·        That the Sub-Committee may only have regard to the objections submitted.

 

All parties, with the exception of Members of the Sub-Committee, the Legal Representative and the representative of Democratic Services then withdrew to enable the Sub-Committee to consider its decision.

 

All parties were then recalled and the Chair gave the decision of the Sub-Committee.

 

Having had regard to:

 

  • The Council’s Street Trading Policy.
  • The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982.
  • The Report presented by the Technical Officer, Licensing, Worcestershire Regulatory Services.
  • The application and oral representations made at the Hearing by the applicant Mr Arion Zouliatis, his business partner and business advisor.
  • The written and oral representations made on behalf of the Churches Conservation Trust.

 

The Sub-Committee decided to grant the application as applied for.

 

The reasons for the Sub-Committee’s decision were as follows:

 

·        The Sub-Committee considered the applicant’s submissions in which Mr Zouliatis explained that he was currently operating his business as a mobile unit in the centre of Worcester and was seeking a permanent site from which to trade.

 

·        The Sub-Committee noted the objection presented on behalf of the Churches Conservation Trust, which were in essence, that aesthetically the tricycle was not in keeping with the area, specifically St Swithuns Church, and that two emergency exits from the church which would be obstructed by the positioning of the tricycle from which the business would trade.

 

·        The applicant provided a photograph which included the specifications and measurements for the rear of the building including the area that would be occupied by the tricycle. The Sub-Committee was satisfied that there was sufficient space to enable the tricycle to trade without impinging on the emergency exits.

 

·        The Sub-Committee considered the layout of the area and was satisfied that the Street Trading Licence could operate without causing undue interference or inconvenience to persons using the street.

 

 

·        The Sub-Committee considered the legislation that allowed refusal if “there are already enough traders trading in the street from shops or otherwise in the goods in which the applicant desires to trade”. The Sub-Committee members noted that there were no objections to suggest that there were other traders selling similar goods and therefore concluded that the licence should be granted.

 

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