Burger van on double yellow lines opposite town hall and police station opens can of worms

Posted On 03 Mar 2017 at 5:24 am

A burger van parked on double yellow lines opposite hundreds of council officials and police officers has prompted a review of traders’ permits.

The Munchbox burger van has a permit to park on double yellow lines in Norton Road, Hove, even though the lines are supposed to be used to prevent dangerous or obstructive parking.

And the site is yards form a zone where mobile traders are not permitted – to protect those businesses that pay rates and rents to fund services for the public.

The opposition Conservatives have asked for a review after different Brighton and Hove City Council departments gave conflicting explanations for the way that the system operated – and apparently appeared to break the law.

The Conservative group leader Geoffrey Theobald said: “This is wrong on so many levels.

“Firstly, the van is parked on a double yellow line all day, all week. If I were to do that, I would quite rightly be ticketed and probably towed away.

“Secondly, it is in direct competition with a whole suite of restaurants and cafés in Church Road, yet unlike these shops, it doesn’t have to pay business rates. That’s not a level playing field.”

Councillor Theobald added: “And all this in full view of the council and police at Hove Town Hall.

burger van in Norton Road
“If this is all above board, as the council seems to be saying, then there must be something seriously wrong with the system of giving out licences – hence our reason for requesting a review.”

At the council’s Licensing Committee, which met at Hove Town Hall yesterday (Thursday 2 March), another Conservative councillor, Lee Wares, said that the permit trading zones were “designed to protect our shopping areas from the impact of mobile traders”.

Councillor Wares said: “Our guidance notes say that mobile traders are not permitted in the town centre but permits can be given in the outskirts of Brighton and Hove.

“A mobile trader parked 10ft the other side of the demarcation line in Church Road is not on the outskirts of the town and flies in the face of the purpose of having zones.

“As was reiterated in the council’s letter to Councillor Wealls (the Conservative ward councillor for Central Hove, Andrew Wealls), the regulation of street trading covers infrequent and itinerant trading.
“Permanently parked in the same place for 12 months is neither infrequent nor itinerant.

“If we accept that our shops and businesses, particularly in the town centre, are crucial for employment, wealth creation and for paying rents and business rates that this city relies on to pay for other services, we must do all we can to protect them.

“Let’s not forget, a mobile trader only pays a fee that can only be used to administer the licence and enforce it. Not one single penny goes towards the cost of running the city.

“I’m clearly not averse to mobile traders and the benefits they bring but only a review will ensure we protect our commerce as our policy intended.

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald

“I suggest that the council can also rely on the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 that states the council may refuse an application on the grounds that ‘there are already enough traders trading in the street from shops or otherwise in the goods in which the applicant desires to trade’.

“Last time I looked, we were already quite well blessed with food outlets in Church Road and George Street.

“We prohibit street trading within a one-mile radius of the Amex football stadium. That sounds like a buffer zone to me.

“We have also got another perverse situation outside this building where quasi permanent traders are positioned on double yellow lines.

“The council’s website says that ‘yellow lines mean that you cannot park as it is dangerous or you would be causing an obstruction to oncoming traffic or pedestrians’.

“Either the necessity for double yellow lines exists or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, we should get rid of them. If it does, don’t permit mobile traders to park on them.

“Perhaps somebody can square this circle for me.

Councillor Lee Wares

Councillor Lee Wares

“During the day, the busiest time for traffic and pedestrians, a mobile trader is parked on double yellow lines, immune from prosecution because of the traders’ licence.

“When they’ve gone and the streets are quieter, if I park on the same double yellow lines, I would get a ticket.”

He urged fellow members of the Licensing Committee to extend the zone for traders’ permits “to properly protect our town centre and ensure traders cannot break any road traffic regulation by virtue of having a traders’ permit”.

Labour councillor Adrian Morris raised concerns about itinerant traders in places like Western Road. He said: “They spoil the street scene and if I had a business there, I’d be furious, and I think we need to crack down on it.”

Conservative councillor Steve Bell spoke about the way some mobile traders put out tables and chairs. He was told that required a separate licence.

He added: “It does seem odd that outside Hove Town Hall, where we administer policies, and outside Hove Police Station a van can park on double yellow lines yet if I was to park there I could expect a ticket.”

The cross-party committee asked for a review of the council’s street trading policy. It called for options to change the restricted zones and prevent or restrict traders from pitching on yellow lines or otherwise breaking traffic or parking laws.

  1. Rolivan Reply

    I am amazed it has taken them this long to realise,it was parked on the otherside in front of the Taxi Rank before this.Not only is it parked on double yellows it is also partially on the pavement,how many paving slabs has it broken in the process?

    • Karein Reply

      It hasn’t broken any paving slabs, it’s not in the way or obstructing anything and the burgers and Naz are iconic! He’s a legend,

  2. Charlie Bones Reply

    Then move the buffer zone further away from the shops, it’s that easy.

  3. Cath Don Reply

    It’s also got seats on the path in front of it which makes it very difficult to pass especially with a buggy. Not to mention the unpleasant aroma that hangs in the air. Seemingly this was one of the reasons the taxi drivers were able to get it moved from the rank side as it was fumigating the cars.
    It picks up a lot of trade from the staff that work in the Town Hall – might that be influencing the decisions around its existence?!?

    • Mick Reply

      I would rather smell food than diesel fumes as the taxis pollute the air which is one of the causes of Asthma of which affects me very bad.
      The council workers can choose where they want to eat so that is a lame excuse.

  4. john Reply

    The is also a Caribbean food van parked in selborne road with its wheels on the pavement
    In order to power itself it is connected to the battery of a car parked next to it, with its engine running all pay giving out exhaust fumes
    great for the environment
    so far no action from the police or council

  5. Betty Reply

    I’d like to know why a similar van (Bready’s Delights) has opened at the bottom of Selborne Road. It’s taking up two or three parking spaces, looks dangerous with leads and canisters in another car rather than the van, and is very poorly placed on a very residential road (open until very late too).

  6. Kim Tregidgo Reply

    I can’t see what the problem is, he has a licence and can park on double yellow lines to trade and isn’t obstructing any one where he is. Its just an excuse that the councillors say “if I parked on double yellow lines, I would get a ticket.” Wouldn’t we all.
    There is always a minority of people that are never happy, no matter what you do (thats life) but competition between food venues gives people more choice.
    If the councillors are worried about it, then increase the licence fee to create more income.

  7. whatever Reply

    seriously haven’t they anything more important to worry about.

  8. John Wilson Reply

    Burgers to die for.Move them to the seafront.

  9. Frank Reply

    If you haven’t tried one of his burgers, you don’t know what your missing.
    There greeeeaaaaat.

  10. Andy Reply

    Andy. March 3/2017
    Geoffrey Theobald looks like a Carrot Cruncher to me!
    If people enjoy munch box burgers and like the service why should they be denied the type of food that they wish to eat?
    The council draw a line for zone B that ends at church road. Munch box is trading on the correct side of this boundary. Yes on double yellows.
    If a few sad people are so worried about the road being narrowed slightly by the munch box van then how about all the cycle lanes in our town that have narrowed our roads and created more traffic congestion?
    ‘SAD PEOPLE’! Work it out one small burger van!!!! Do the maths!

  11. David Hill Reply

    March 2017
    Does our council taxes pay Mr Theobalds wages?
    If so maybe we should ask him to get on with the priorities of concern in this town? Burger vans on yellow lines?
    Time to do your job, retire or hand your notice in!?
    Try fixing the state of our road surfaces!

  12. Andy Reply

    Andy. 3/3/2017
    Do people in general like eating Burgers?
    Is there a decent burger shop in Hove?????
    At last here is a burger shop ( mobile yes)
    That gives us very tasty burgers…. Hooray!
    If you don’t like eating burgers then don’t!
    Just leave the rest of us to enjoy our delicious munch box
    Burgers and stop complaining. Remember that you are the minority and we the majority!!!!
    We love burgers ok!

  13. Simon King Reply

    Brighton has more cafes, coffee houses a d restaurants per square mile than anywhere else in England! But what about these cafes and restaurants, who have tables and chairs outside on the pavement? Do they pay rates for doubling the size of their operating premises?

  14. Sean Reply

    Naz who runs the munchbox is a lovely fellow. Great burgers ? with a smile.
    If the rules don’t work for you, change them. Sounds about right….. or not.
    Let Naz earn a living…. Vive la burger

  15. Antony Reply

    Wait a minute,if you pop round the back of the car park you will see that there are at least 10 parking bays marked Parking for Councilors .I presume these are free for them to use .Paid for by local tax payers ?

  16. Antony Reply

    Another thing ,when the council allow the food stalls to trade outside the town hall every month,don’t they sell similar food to the restaurants nearby ?

  17. Ardeshir Reply

    the city has more important problems than wasting its time to argue about a mobile catering van that has passed all legal requirements to be issues a licence to trade in zone B .I think the local government must support the small businesses .

  18. Mike Supliski Reply

    looks like the proprietor of this van has created a load of fake replies above

    • Niall Reply

      Why – just because all of the supportive replies were done in groups of 3-4 with just 5 mins between them?

      I guess it’s true that there is no such thing as bad publicity

  19. graham Reply

    cant people be happy that someone earning a living and not scrounging of state , complies with all the regulations etc , all problems with hospitals etc and all there worried about is a burger van , typical council mentality

  20. EddieO Reply

    Shift the lines or shift the van – can’t have both.

  21. Mel Reply

    If the council have marked an area as a permitted zone to trade, isn’t it just that? A permitted place to trade? What relevance do the yellow lines have in a licensed spot during the business hours of this burger van? Street traders need their place of work to be from obstruction when they turn up to set up and trade each morning. How else could they operate if there were no parking restrictions for others? Perhaps that was the thought process when allowing these permits in yellow lined areas. Why waste time and money again on something that has already had council planning and budgeting before implementation. If Councillors’ are peeved that they would get a ticket parking in the same spot, maybe they should think a little less selfishly in order to see the bigger picture. Strange how this particular van has been targeted given it’s location. If the yellow lines pose an issue around our city in trade permitted areas, replace them with road markings and restrictions that correlate with the permits. Simple. If the people of Hove are enjoying the convenience of a fast food van in their area, let them enjoy. Yes, there are many food outlets in the nearby area. However street food, burgers or whatever it may be, adds diversity to our city, which many of us appreciate. There are far ‘bigger cans of worms’ that need opening up and addressing in this city. If only Councillors’ were not constantly detracting from these to fill their time, we might see improvements in the areas where year after year nothing changes!

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