Portable Cabin Snack Bar Business on Private Property

by Heather

We are looking into turning a Portable cabin on private property (industrial estate) into a snack bar/cafe.

Do we need to seek planning permission of the local council to open or as its on private property just to inform environmental health?

I know we don't need a hawkers license but unsure on permission of the local council. Don't want to spend loads of money kitting it out to set it up, then the council turn round and say you have no permission to be here. Can they do that?

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Jan 17, 2014
Planning Permission mobile catering
by: Tim Pragnell

All Councils are different when it comes to Planning Permission for mobile catering units on private property. Some will turn a "Blind Eye" until they receive a complaint then they have to act and enforce council rules on planning as they are working for YOU!. Even if sometimes it feels like they are not?.

The planning is simple if it is a private car park, then they can say you need change of use for an area of the car park to be used for your catering unit. This means drawings full planning permission. Then if they have ANY! objections at all it will go forward to a full Council meeting.(Madness i know).

The trouble is no one wants to take responsibility
for giving you permission on the Council.But you could just go ahead build up a nice turn over and then get closed down. Chances of getting permission then will be against you from the word go.

More and more people are frightened if they give you a nod to go ahead then they might get sued if something goes wrong.If you know of any site in a superstore trade center that is allowing units in there car park some Council will just say that you need a Council licence only because the store is built on council land that it owns and is just leasing the land under a 125 year lease to the Store who built on the land.

Any Council land where you can prove there is a need for a Catering unit, then the council will grant you a licence without having to get planning permission. Crown land (That is owned by the Highways department) needs planning in theory. Because it is classed as private land. Yes I know what your about to say ?
Highway and the Council work for the same Government!!!.-

I tried to argue that point it got me no where.It comes down to your Council and how they are in touch or not with people trying to get themselves working rather than be unemployed.

Don't go at them like a "Bull in a china shop" it will get you no where. But stand your ground firmly on what you want to do.Winchester Council do not require a licence anywhere out side of the City. Which means if you can find a lay-by which isn't being used already as a catering/snack bar selling at the side of the road, then you can open without planning or a licence.

I know of at least 3 that have done so and been running their business for over 4 years now.You need to look at how your area is going to feel about what you want to do. Go and speak to them, find out in advance.Really is the best way.

Jan 16, 2014
Portable Cabin Catering Business
by: David

Hi Heather,

Planning permission may be required even if you are trading on private land and this is because you will be “changing the use” of the land from its original use to the new use.

You should contact your local planning department who will be able to advise you further. They will probably ask you to submit an application for which you will have to pay.

It may also be the case that planning permission it’s not required, but either way you should find out. You should also then be told if the landowner is responsible for business rates on the land.

I know it’s a lot to think about, but it’s good to know the true costs of the business before you start spending any of your money on refurbishments. If there is no rent to pay to the landowner or very little, but the location is great- it’s probably still worth going forward with the venture. Either way, let me know how you get on.

Best of luck,

PS. Get my free guide on Starting a Mobile Catering Business Guide

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