Guidance for operators of open-air markets and car boot sales

Part of: Street trading licences

It is an offence to hold a temporary market, or permit your land to be used for a temporary market, without giving notice. If you do so, you can be fined up to £2,500.

Definition of an open-air market 

An open-air market, or car boot sale, is defined as a place where people buy and sell items in the open air and has 5 or more: 

  • stalls 
  • stands 
  • vehicles (whether movable or not) 
  • pitches from which items are sold 

One site can host an open-air market or car boot sale for a maximum of 14 days a year. This is known as a temporary market. For this market you: 

  • need to give us notice  
  • do not need planning permission 

A site hosting a market for more that 14 days a year needs planning consent.  

Giving notice 

Charity market 

You do not need to give us notice if your temporary market is to raise funds for charity. 

The funds raised are to be used solely, or principally, for the following purposes: 

  • charitable 
  • social 
  • sporting 
  • political 

Commercial market 

A commercial temporary market must give us notice. 

At least 30 days before the day of the market, you must email us at with the following information: 

  • address and details of the site  
  • written permission from the site owner 
  • organiser's full name and address 
  • proposed dates of the market 
  • opening and closing times 
  • details of public liability insurance 
  • details of any waste contract 

You must ensure that health and safety issues are given priority in setting up the site. 

After giving notice 

A street enforcement officer will contact the organiser to discuss the proposal. 

The general site layout will be considered together with: 

  • the surface and land drainage arrangements 
  • toilet facilities for stallholders, their helpers and the public 
  • both on- and off-site parking arrangements 
  • emergency evacuation procedures 
  • general fire, noise prevention and safety measures 

Other officers may visit the site including those from: 

Officers will visit the site when the market is running. Some of these visits will be unannounced inspections. 

Advertising your market 

When advertising your market you cannot: 

  • put up placards 
  • put up billboards 
  • fly-post in the street 

If you do, they will be taken down by street enforcement officers and you will be prosecuted.  


Both organisers and individual stallholders should have insurance to cover any eventuality. 

Market traders 

We maintain a list of people interested in trading at market sites. They have given permission for their details to be passed onto reputable market organisers. If you would like their details, please contact us. 

Are sellers liable for the goods they sell? 

Yes. Particularly with second-hand goods a trader may, knowingly or unknowingly, sell: 

  • stolen property 
  • counterfeit goods  
  • unsafe or otherwise illegal items 

Police and council officers have certain powers to prosecute. Members of the public can also bring civil actions.

Contact the licensing team