Traders angered by proposed license

PUBLISHED: 11:57 20 April 2006 | UPDATED: 14:40 12 May 2010

Royston High Street

Royston High Street

TRADERS have been reassured that they will not be ordered to pay a £1,000 license fee to set out displays on the pavement. But North Herts District Council said it would look at a fee on a sliding scale for pavement displays. Traders had received a letter

TRADERS have been reassured that they will not be ordered to pay a £1,000 license fee to set out displays on the pavement.

But North Herts District Council said it would look at a fee on a sliding scale for pavement displays.

Traders had received a letter from the district council that outlined a proposal for shop owners to pay licence fees for displaying pavement goods and putting out advertisement boards.

With a High Street in Royston that has been dotted with displays and a variety of boards outside of shops for a number of years, the district council document came as a surprise.

The letter said traders would have to pay up to £20-a-week or £250-a-quarter if they wanted to carry on with outside trading. A fee that would accumulate to a staggering £1000-a-year.

Traders were angered and confused over the move and complained that the suggested fees were too high.

But the district council has now told traders that there was a "misunderstanding" over the proposal.

Andy Godman, head of environmental health, said: "Unfortunately, the letter we sent to traders outlining our intentions led them to believe we would be charging everyone £1000-a-year.

"We would like to apologise for the misunderstanding.

"We are fully-committed to encouraging traders who add to the colour and variety of our towns with pavement displays for residents and visitors to enjoy."

However a fee is still likely to be issued, with the district council now looking to use a sliding scale scheme.

These are expected to start on a nil charge and increase depending on the business.

The district council said each case will be judged on its own merits and will be investigated over the next four to six weeks.

Mr Godman added: "We will be in touch with everyone concerned in the near future and will be happy to talk to anyone who is still worried.

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