Cheltenham Borough Council
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Agenda item

Application for Street-Trading licence

Minutes:

Officer introduction

The Licensing Team Leader said the application is for a new street-trading consent to sell hot drinks and cakes from a coffee bike (image provided) outside 117 High Street (John Lewis plc), initially for three months, with trading hours as set out in the officer report.  The assessment criteria are listed at Paragraph 3.2 of the report, with a number of objections from local traders included in the background papers.  The Committee can approve if Members feel it is acceptable, or refuse if they feel it does not comply with Council policy.  They should determine the application with a view to promote Council policy, and need to aware that the proposed site is not an approved location. 

 

Members’ questions to officer

None.

 

Applicant’s address

Mr Nigel-Jones said he had done a lot of research before choosing this particular location, and opted for it because it is a much improved area, with a wide pavement, and at a good distance from another coffee street vendor who trades outside Cavendish House.  

 

 Members’ questions to applicant

In response to Members’ questions, Mr Nigel-Jones confirmed that:

-       He would sell organic coffee and orange juice, and organic crisps from local farmers using biodegradable packets; the coffee cups will also be biodegradable;

-       There is a litter bin approximately 5 yards from the proposed pitch; he will be responsible for his own rubbish;

-       The bicycle is electric and can be cycled, but he will bring it in a van, at 7.30am;

-       He considered the Council’s street-trading policy and other local coffee shops when doing his research, and concluded that the nearest coffee shop – Costa – would not be too worried about competition from him.  He considers this location to be a good one, as John Lewis has made it an up-and-coming area, the footfall is good, there are benches and litter bins;

-       The power for making coffee etc will come from a lithium battery in a sealed unit underneath the counter; other equipment is operated by gas, from a small container inside the bike;

-       He applied for a three-month licence initially as he is a little worried about the winter months, and would want to discuss with the Council the possibility of a canopy or awning over the bike to protect customers from the rain.  He would want to extend the licence if possible.

 

Member debate

A member said that, as with the previous application, the Council has endorsed a policy and it is for the Committee to enforce it.  The policy does not support a bike here.  Moreover, the Council has worked hard to attract John Lewis and other major retailers to the town, and spent a lot of money on public realm work in this area – it now looks good, and it would be a shame to clutter the pavement with pop-ups.  He believes strongly in fair competition and attaches serious weight to the effect of this business on established businesses paying rent and rates.  He will not support the application in principle.

 

A member commended the environmental considerations made by the applicant, but felt there are two main issues:  firstly, this is not an approved area for street trading, and secondly, the Council has a duty to businesses paying rates – it must consider the needs of the area and the impact this additional business would have.

 

A member also liked the bike, the organic wares, and the environmentally responsible attitude of the applicant, but felt he was taking advantage of the fact that major improvements have been made in this area.  It is not an approved location, and the business would be in direct competition with a number of other traders.  He commended Mr Nigel-Jones for his application, but did not feel it would be supported.

 

A member agreed that the bike looks wonderful, complements the Council’s cycling agenda, and the environmental credentials are good.  He was not concerned about public safety or nuisance, but felt the application failed on two tests:  first, the needs of the area – the pitch is close to several coffee shops which complement each other well – and second, it is not an approved site.  He would like to see the coffee bike somewhere in town but not here.

 

Applicant’s response

Mr Nigel-Jones took Members’ points, but wondered whether this is not a designated site because it was previously untidy with poor footfall.  Now that money has been spent, it could become a designated location and would complement the area.

 

Vote

To approve the application

0 in support

5 in objection

REFUSE

 

The Chair confirmed that the Committee likes the appearance and environmental credentials of the business, and have refused because it is not compatible with the policy needs of the area.  He thanked the applicant, and suggested he speak with the licensing team outside the meeting to consider other locations.   

 

Supporting documents: