Control and Management

To hold a market in a public space, whether it is a school canteen, pub car park or on the high street, you are going to need permission from those owning the land.


You are also likely to need a number of other approvals, particularly from your local authority, which are mentioned subsequently. It is vital that all the relevant approvals are properly recorded and you observe any conditions that are laid down. If you are not sure about what any approval requires of you, make sure you seek clarification before you agree. Do not commit the market to deliver something that is not possible.


Whilst a number of markets may operate within the UK historically with little in the way of a formal arrangement, this is not something we would recommend. See the chapter on Governance, for clarification.
If it is intended to operate a market event for more than 14 days in any calendar year on a particular piece of land, planning consent must be sought from the appropriate Planning Authority as stipulated by The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Act 1995.


Approach your Local Authority early on!

Reference has already been made to the fact that the majority of markets in the United Kingdom are operated by local authorities. Many of these local authorities enjoy the benefits of what are called “market rights” giving them the powers to license the holding of other markets within their area.


It is important, before considering setting up a market, that you consult with your local authority to determine whether they operate a market rights policy and whether there is an application process that you need to follow to get approval for your market.


In addition to clarifying the position on market rights, local authorities are also a helpful source of information about a whole range of issues that are relevant to the running of any market. Listed below are a number of the key issues that you will need to address and before making any decisions about how your market will operate, you are strongly recommended to seek advice from your local authority.

  • Food Hygiene
  • Health and Safety
  • Highways
  • Licensing
  • Planning
  • Waste
  • Weights and Measures

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health have produced CIEH National Guidance for Outdoor and Mobile Catering, which includes downloadable templates, check lists and pro forma letters to help you manage your outdoor events. To download the documents go to the website: CIEH


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If you think you would like advice about setting up a new market, find out here how NABMA Marketplace can help!

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