Leeds city centre street trading licences scrapped as part of foodie revolution

Leeds city centre street traders on Briggate.
Leeds city centre street traders on Briggate.
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A NEW-style street trading turf war could be about to break out in Leeds city centre, as council bosses bid to scrap the existing licensing system and introduce pricing zones for the first time in a drive to make the city a foodie capital of the North.

The plan would see prime city centre plots like the Briggate rented out for almost £100 a day, with areas with lesser footfall having a cheaper rate.

Existing street trading licences would be scrapped in their current form, and traders would need to get a daily market licence instead.

It would mean street sellers would no longer be able to rent out pitches longer-term as they currently do. Instead, says a new council report, there would be a “more flexible situation, where traders can move around and different food offers can be introduced”.

The ultimate idea is to create an expansive quality street food market - and ensure Leeds doesn’t get left behind in the country’s wider street food revolution.

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The plan would rake in more than £90,000 in rents for the authority, with the current tendering system abandoned.

A report just signed off by the city’s chief economic development officer says the “daily city centre street food market” would take place at 11 key sites.

“The advantage of utilising the markets licence is that it can create trading zones to reflect the popularity and footfall of each site when setting fees,” it says.

The report adds that the street food movement is “a well-established global phenomenon” and “an exciting development in the culinary offer of towns and cities in the UK”.

“Many cities, in particular London, Manchester and Leeds, have bought into the ethos of quality street food,” the report says,

“The aspiration is to ensure Leeds, as one of the UK’s foremost cities, does not get left behind in this area.

“The time is right to increase quality to ensure we do not lose trade to other cities.”

The council is creating a £20,000 street food ‘incubator project’ which will work with traders on business planning and help develop quality and the idea of food ‘theatre’.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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