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From 1st April it'll be illegal for street traders to be in the centre of Swindon. Only the florist has been given planning permission and will be relocated to another area of the centre.
Maria Bretti, whose dad has an ice cream stall has set up a Facebook group campaigning for him to stay there. Almost 400 people have now joined it. One comment on the site said: "the best cities in the world have street traders providing for visitors and residents alike - I have recently bought from stalls in Vienna, Edinburgh. Prague and Brussels - and Swindon the occasional continental or farmer's markets seem to be postively encouraged, so why are these regular traders being penalised?"
A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said:
“The council has made this decision because a large number of shops and stores have told us that in general, the areas of the town centre which are currently being used for street trading do nothing to improve the experience of visitors or shoppers. Millions of pounds are being spent at the moment to improve the appearance and facilities in the town centre, and the council has a duty to make decisions which are in the best interests of the town centre overall. We must reflect the needs of the majority of traders and employers whose success is vital for the future of Swindon. That said, we have no desire to prevent street trading, and in fact in future we’re more than happy to see it flourish in other parts of the town centre which would benefit from it. The four street traders affected have had well over a year’s notice about the proposed changes, and we have done a huge amount to inform them of the process and given them every opportunity to make their case. For instance, as a result of this, the flower seller who is currently in The Parade has put in a planning application to move a short distance to the other side of the pedestrian underpass and this business will be able to trade from there from 1 April onwards. We have had no alternative proposals put to us by the other three traders. Street trading consents can only be given by the council on a yearly basis, by law, and street traders also need the permission of the landowner to be there. The Parade is privately owned, and the owners have made it very clear that they will not give their permission for traders to be there in future.”