Markets, street trading and street parties
Markets, street trading and street parties

The following Local Government practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Markets, street trading and street parties
  • Markets
  • Street trading
  • Street parties and events orders
  • Powers under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847

Markets, street trading and street parties

Public highways are used for many purposes beyond simply travelling from one place to another. This Practice Note examines the legal implications of static uses of highway land and of controlling or prohibiting traffic to facilitate static uses.


Markets are often held on one or more particular days of each week and the stall-holders often remove their stalls between market days (and, indeed, set up those same stalls in other towns on other days). The owner of a market (often the Lord of the Manor or a local authority) usually has the exclusive right to hold a market in a particular town or locality. No others are permitted under the common law within six and two-thirds miles. The exact location of the market within the town or locality is sometimes more flexible; it depends on how the market right was awarded and then on property rights. Many market rights (often called market franchises) derive from ancient Royal charters; others operate under local Acts of Parliament.

Markets often occupy space that is used as a public highway when the market is absent. This is lawful at common law and in some cases under local statute. The legal theory at common law is that the person who owns the land beneath the highway (and beneath the market) dedicated that land as a highway

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