Food festivals, carnivals and markets could be easier to hold in Seaham thanks to a rule change.
Durham County Council has agreed to alter the status of streets around the town’s Tommy statue to allow public events to be held there.
At the moment, street trading is banned at North Terrace and The Green.
But this week, the county council’s General Licensing and Registration Committee agreed to formally change them to allow events to be staged – subject to council approval.
“A way to control [events] is through a consent or licence system, so it isn’t a free for all – that would filter out the undesirables” Craig Rudman, the county council’s licensing manager, told the meeting.
He added: “It doesn’t open these streets up all the time, but if you opened these up to allow street trading to take place they would be subject to rules and anything else [the council] wanted to put in place, as well as the highways department and the police.
“We would only issue consent for events and those events would be ones supported by the county council or local town and parish councils, not just a single person wanting to turn up and sell something.”
The application for Seaham was submitted by Jill Wood, the county council’s festival and events team manager.
It ask to switch the designation of North Terrace and The Green from ‘prohibited’ to ‘consent’ streets.
Mr Rudman said another advantage of using a ‘consent’ system to regulate street trading would be greater council control, allowing it to ensure approved events were in line with policies and limit the number that could take place in a given year.
Coun Colin Carr, the committee’s chairman added: “We’re not the first authority to create these areas, Redcar and Cleveland were asked to do this in Saltburn for a food festival.
“Those food festivals are becoming popular and it’s a way to attract people into our town centres and give businesses some assistance.”
Councillors voted unanimously to approve the changes.
James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service