Gants Hill traders’ anger at doubling of license

Doubling of street trading licences in Gants Hill could stop any chance of a cafe society in its tracks, it is claimed.

Traders in the borough are facing increases of �2,000 to �4,000 for a pitch outside their shops.

Darren Bullman, owner of The Bar in Gants Hill, was shocked when he learned his would increase by 200 per cent from April 1.

“I don’t even sell drink outside, and in winter it’s only used by people who smoke.

“They say they want Gants Hill to have a cafe culture, how can this happen with these increases?”

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But the rise still reflects a reduction, since Redbridge Council street trading licences have been capped since 2009 at �2,000.

The move is part of an ongoing approach to help businesses during the downturn.

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Deputy Mayor Cllr Ruth Clark, licensing committee chairman told The Recorder she sympathised with the traders’ sentiments.

“I was instrumental in pushing for the reduction three years ago,” she said.

“We have been subsidising the traders for years. I know it is hard but they are still getting a significant reduction.”

John Clark, chairman of Gants Hill business partnership, who runs night bar Visage, which will be affected by the increase, said: “I am not over the moon about it. It is quite a harsh increase.”

The change came into effect from April 1.

A Redbridge Council spokesman said: “This year, due to the immense financial pressures of large scale cuts from central Government, the council has increased the cap to �4,000.

“While we appreciate that some licensed premises will see an increase in their licensing fees, it is essential to consider that these same businesses received a discount of up to �2,000 for the past two years and are only now paying a fee that is comparable to what businesses in other London boroughs pay for street trading.”

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