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Trading Safely at local carnivals

How can I maximise my trade when there is a carnival?

How can I maximise my trade when there is a carnival?

So soon after England’s demise, the Brazilians’ embarrassment and Germany’s victory in the World Cup, we again rave about Brazil, this time in the context of it being the home of the Carnival. On the 24th and 25th August 2014 we’ll try to emulate the excitement, music, great food and street dancing at the annual London Carnival.

This extravaganza sprawls through different London boroughs and is a logistical ‘headache’ not only for the different authorities but also for operators and smaller independents wanting to maximise their business trade.

The different authorisations required to trade legally, and the Councils’ flexibility with their normal procedures varies from borough to borough. So as with all such large street events, we once again talk of ‘Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.’

The list below is not exhaustive, but it identifies matters which should be considered if you trade in or around the procession area. It could also apply to other large street events outside the capital:

• A majority of authorities, including the Police and Licensing bodies, usually have dedicated ‘carnival teams’ and a carnival operational plan. Unfortunately, if your proposal conflicts with that plan, the authorities inevitably will object.

• If you’re entertaining over 499 people, then you will need a Premises Licence. Some Councils request applications 3 months prior to the event but legally the standard 28 day consultation period still applies. Either way by the time you read this you ought to have submitted your licence application.

• If you are wanting to extend existing hours or trade a ‘pop-up’ or unlicensed venue providing licensable activities then you will need a Temporary Event Notice. Some Councils are asking for Temporary Event Notices to be lodged at least two months in advance but legally a Council must receive a standard Temporary Event Notice 10 clear working days in advance of the event (and for a late notice, 9-5 clear working days, but remember the authorities have a complete right of veto).

• Trading on a public highway may require permission. Check whether your Council have systems to provide a temporary Pavement Licence and / or Street Trader’s Licence at short notice. I would hope Councils’ flexibility would come into play.

• Another practical reminder is that it may be worth conducting an up to date assessment of your premises, looking at the requirement for door staff or safety stewards, the use of CCTV equipment, your systems for the prevention of nuisance, the removal of waste and cleaning the premises and streets.

• There will be many children enjoying the Carnival. Consider how you will prevent underage sales and protect children who may be on your premises.

• You may wish to have a qualified first aider available, especially if the Carnival falls on a hot summer’s day.

• Update your fire risk assessment specific to this event and check your safe capacity.

Authorities don’t like surprises, so speak to them or their dedicated ‘Carnival teams’ about the nature of your event. You will then be able to make an informed decision on how you can best trade and enjoy the London Carnival.

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