Markets and Car Boot Sales

The Legal Background

Any person intending to hold a car boot sale needs to be sure that the event is lawfully held. From the Council' s standpoint this involves answering two main questions, namely: -

  1. Does the event require a specific grant of planning permission?
  2. Notwithstanding the answer to (1) is "formal notification" of the event necessary in compliance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982?

Planning Permission

All car boots sales require planning permission except that, where it is as a one-off event held on a single occasion during the year, the use will normally be considered to be "de minimis". However, because of the provisions of the Town and Country Planning General Permitted Development Order 1995 certain "permitted development" rights apply to "open land not within the curtilage of a building". In such cases the Order effectively grants planning permission to the holding of a market (including car boot sales) for up to 14 days in total in a calendar year. It is however, a legal right which may be taken away by the Council at relatively short notice in order to regain control in instances where severe local problems (e.g. traffic hazards) are anticipated or become apparent.

It follows therefore that if the event is neither "de minimis" nor permitted development", then a specific planning permission is required and a planning application must be made to the Council in the duly authorised manner.

If subsequently the application is refused there is of course a right of appeal but meanwhile any events held would be unauthorised and could result in an enforcement action being taken against the person(s) responsible. A subsequent Stop Notice may also be served to secure the cessation of the market.

Formal Notification

The second aspect that must be considered is that formal notification in writing must be given to the Council not less than 28 days before the car boot sale or series of car boot sales are to be held.

Non compliance with this procedure can result in a prosecution and render the relevant person liable on conviction to a fine of £1,000.

The Council enacted the provisions of the relevant act on the 27th October 1982 with proper announcements published 5th November 1982 in the local newspapers circulating in the area.

Not all car boot sales usage requires compliance with this procedure. The exceptions are: -

  1. Where specific planning permission has been granted by the Council as local planning authority.
  2. Where the proceeds of the event are to be applied solely or principally for charitable, social, sporting or political purposes.

Note: the exemption only applies if all the proceeds including the sale of the goods are applied to the exempted purposes. If only the rental for the pitches is applied then notification must be given

If in doubt notify the Council - do not place yourself at risk

Where formal notification is required it must be given not less than one month before the date of which it is proposed to hold the event and the following details must be provided:

  1. The full name and address of the person intending to hold the event.
  2. The day or days on which it is proposed to be held and its proposed opening and closing times.
  3. The site on which the event is proposed to be held (by reference to a plan).
  4. The full name and address of the owner/occupier of the site if he is not the person intending to hold the event.

Please e-mail the above details to sends e-mail)

Definition of Temporary Market

Means a concourse of buyers and sellers of articles held otherwise than in a building or on a highway and comprising not less than five stalls, stands, vehicles (whether moveable or not) on pitches from which articles re sold (does not include sale by auction of farm livestock and deadstock nor market or fair which right of trade by virtue of a grant or enactment or order).

This information is provided solely as informal advice - for formal decision and determination reference should be made to the relevant legislative provisions.


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