Street Food Market gets green light – but with reduced scale and on trial basis

Image above: Richard Johnson on Dragon’s Den – where he pitched the biggest Street Food competition in the world

Decision means Chiswick will have a Sunday market every week – for three months.

The proposal for a ‘Street Food Market’ in Chiswick, selling a range of international foods including Italian, French, Indian, Swedish, Australian and barbecue on the fourth Sunday of every month, has been approved by Hounslow Council’s Licensing Panel on a trial basis, but reduced in scale from the organiser’s original proposal.

In a statement to the applicant, Chiswick-based entrepreneur and food writer Richard Johnson, the Panel apologised for the delay in making a decision, which was set to be made on Tuesday 22 August during their scheduled meeting. The extended deliberation period was attributed to the vast amount of responses to the application, with councillors wanting to “ensure that we were comfortable in having come to the correct decision, for everyone’s benefit”.

The Panel granted the Street Food Market to go ahead for a period of three months, with a reduced capacity of 20 pitches (62 were proposed) and with opening hours from 11.00am until 4.00pm. The market will likely start in October, though there is no set date yet. Set up hours have been reduced and must not start any earlier than 8.00am, which the Panel said gives market organisers a chance of gaining residents support and would “hopefully allay some of the feared negative impacts”.

Councillors said they “felt strongly that we wanted the market to have the opportunity to prove that it can be an asset to neighbouring businesses and residents as well as bringing vibrancy and choice to the High Road.”

The Panel added that statements made both in support or opposition were speculative about the impact, and the only way to “truly test” the impacts is by providing the licence at a reduced capacity to minimise the potential negative impact feared by some of the objectors. Granting the application likewise gives supporters chance to showcase the positive impact of the market’s presence and areas of concern such as litter and parking can be properly managed.

When the three month trial period is concluded, Mr. Johnson will be able to apply again for the licence on the same terms as the original application, but with the benefit of evidence of performance.

The committee’s official decision, with full clauses, will be available “within the next few days”, they said.

Mr. Johnson told The Chiswick Calendar the news suited him fine, he said:

“I feel really excited to get the Food St market launched in the run-up to Christmas. I’m seeing chestnuts, barbecued brisket and steaming hot puddings – with food demos and chef interviews for good measure. Can’t wait.”