Last minute reprieve for Cambridgeshire street food businesses 

Street Food businesses and pubs in East Cambridgeshire received a last-minute reprieve for their weekends trading over Easter after the Local Authority found a workable solution that would enable businesses to be licenced to trade – and not in fear of enforcement.  


Pubs around the district had received notifications warning them about allowing unlicenced street trading from their premises. Many street food businesses and the pubs they operate from reached out to NCASS to avoid cancelling at the last minute.  


After some frantic email exchanges and a call with the local authority a solution has now been found that will allow them to trade over Easter, with the hope that a more permanent solution can be found in the coming weeks.  


If you are due to trade on private land in East Cambridgeshire this weekend. You can purchase a day trader licence for each day worked at the rate of £15 per day.  


Trading without a both a licence and formal permission remains forbidden.  

Only businesses that are due to work and can demonstrate that fact, can apply for these licences. 

Numerous street food businesses were believed to have been impacted. Fortunately, a swift and positive response was received from the council who recognised both the impact of covid on hospitality businesses and the big shift in street trading culture since the legislation was last considered.  


One of the businesses affected included Waffle+Co. Founders Ana Hayter and Tori May commented:  


“After such a difficult year, we are so pleased to now be working collaboratively with East Cambridge County Council to be able to trade from our vintage Food Truck. Enabling the community to enjoy a safe and exciting way to experience good Street Food is something we are really passionate about. We pride ourselves on the quality of our sweet and savoury waffles and our Covid-safe procedures. It’s great news that a solution has been agreed and we look forward to many exciting Street Food opportunities for the people of East Cambs(Cambridgeshire)to enjoy in the future. 


NCASS have been working closely with Cambridgeshire based street food collective FoodPark to enable street trading in the region for several months and we are hopeful that more and more local authorities will embrace street food and mobile hospitality in the coming months to support businesses but also re-invigorate town and city centres as we unlock from Covid.  


Government Ministers have increasingly vocalized support for our sector as can be demonstrated in a letter sent to every local authority lead in the country just before Easter. 


‘We are also calling on you to be as flexible as possible in enabling pubs, cafes and restaurants to open outdoor seating areas and host outdoor events in a Covid-secure manner, as the Local Government Secretary stressed in his letter in March. This will keep cash flowing to these businesses in the short term and support our long-term recovery from the pandemic as we reopen, and kick start the economy again.” Ministers Scully & Huddlestone 


East Cambs will have this procedure in place until a new formal street trading policy can be proposed and agreed. This policy will likely build on the current compromise. Meaning that landowners can create an event on connect, invite the caterer, and then forward the details to the local authority. The caterer will have to inform the council what days they are working and where, connect will confirm it. The traders will have to pay up front for days worked.  


We are hopeful that this provides a blueprint for other local authorities to follow enabling pop-up food or even American style food truck culture to develop. As the festival sector faces challenges, a summer of selling street food locally may offer a chance to pivot for the summer.    

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