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Consultation on illegal traders

Southwark Council is to respond to the numerous complaints about illegal trading on Bankside by asking for residents' views about riverside trading.

This spring complaints have reached an all time high with a sudden increase in ice cream vans and burger sellers at weekends. Cooking smells and noisy generators have been making Saturdays and Sundays a misery for many residents in new riverside flats.

Badly hit by disturbance are those many long standing residents who live at Falcon Point to the west of Tate Modern. They have endured a man selling noisy bird song toys as well as buskers. Loud noise has also become a problem for those living near the Millennium Bridge where the steps underneath have been adopted as an unofficial busking pitch complete with a sound amplifier. Sometimes a bookstall has severely narrowed the passage below Blackfriars Bridge.

The first meetings about the problem between Council and Bankside Residents' Forum representatives were held last August. The Council is now considering making the riverside path between Blackfriars Bridge and Southwark Cathedral into a non-trading zone. A similar scheme has seen burger stalls cleared from the riverside alongside the London Eye which falls within the Borough of Lambeth. The South Bank, between the Oxo Tower and County Hall is also free of illegal traders.

However, Southwark Council's suggestion that some traders could still be licensed to use official pitches has angered many residents and nearby shop owners. Elsewhere on the 180 mile Thames Path all trading is banned.

• Take part in the Council consultation: Do you want legalised pitches or complete prohibition? Send your views to the Council before Friday 11 May by letter to: Les Armstrong, Street Trading and Enforcement Unit, London Borough of Southwark SAST House, Dawes Street, London SE17 1EL or email [email protected]

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