Markets Market Rights Policy


The City Council has the sole right to operate markets of any kind within the City of Manchester, by way of: 

  • the Manchester Markets Act 1846, 
  • the Manchester Corporation Acts 1954 and 1965, 
  • the Greater Manchester Act 1981 

You will be committing an unlawful act and subject to legal action if you operate a market within the city boundaries without our consent. 

The definition of a market is “a concourse of buyers and sellers”, with five or more trading spaces. Trading spaces can mean stalls, stands, vehicles, pitches. 

This policy applies to any event deemed a market or fair, whether private or charity, which falls within six and two third miles of any market currently operating within the city boundaries. 

Managing Market Rights 

We use market rights to manage the markets that take place within the city, and to benefit the retailing and entertainment environments. 


A market rights licence grants permission to operate a market only.  It is required regardless of whether the market location is a public or private premise, indoors or out, and in addition to any other permissionWithout this the market cannot take place. 

Markets will only be licensed following a successful application.  The licence details the responsibilities of the both the licensee and Manchester City Council under Market Rights.  Permission to operate the market is only granted after completion of the licence, once all associated fees are paid. 

Licences may be granted for individual markets, including those trading over more than one consecutive day, or for several individual markets within a year. Where the market operates on a more regular or permanent basis, a bespoke licence agreement may need to be negotiated.  

The Real Deal Initiative aims to rid the markets industry of counterfeit products, and the charter details commitments required by all parties.  The approval of a market rights licence is on the condition that these standards and codes of practise are adhered to.

The licensee is responsible for: 

  • all regulatory, legislative and operational aspects of the market operation, such as health & safety management, site management, and all relevant insurances 
  • all other appropriate permissions which may be required in addition to a market rights licence, such as temporary event notice, premises licence or planning consent. 

Licensed markets will be monitored by council officers to ensure that all the conditions of the licence are being adhered to. Any licence breach or deviation may result in the removal of the market rights permission and the subsequent closure of the market. 

Application process 

The market rights licence application is available online, and must be submitted at least 21 days in advance of the proposed market.  Valid applications will be assessed according to the following: 

  • type of market, and the commodities being offered for sale 
  • purpose and benefit of the market, and the local effect 
  • date, time and frequency of the market 
  • number of individual trading spaces 
  • premises, it's suitability and proximity to other markets 
  • operational and safety management plans 
  • operator experience, reputation and quality standards provided 
  • opinions of stakeholders as appropriate. 

Applications are not valid if the mandatory information and supporting documents is not provided.  Applications may also not be considered if received less than 21 days in advance.  

We will generally notify you of the outcome within 14 days, but this may take longer depending upon the size, location and frequency of the market.  Where the application is for a large market or one which operates on a more regular or permanent basis, you may be required to provide a business plan and attend meetings, extending the consideration period beyond 14 days. 

Market Rights fees 

All market rights licenses are subject to the payment of a fee, which relates to processing and issuing documents, as well as the monitoring, regulation and enforcement of the market rights policy and licence. 

Type of market  

Each trading space i.e. stall, stand, vehicle, pitch, is restricted to an individual seller and is defined as an area of no more than 3m2.  Where the space has more than one seller or exceeds this size, it should be considered as multiple trading spaces. 

Car Boot Sales 

Car boot sales should be restricted, as far as possible, to householders selling surplus household articles. No new goods should be available for sale. 

All other markets 

All other markets include both traditional and specialist types.  

Traditional markets are where a variety of goods are available, including new items.  

Specialist markets are those where there is a specialised theme or grouping of commodities that make the event more than either a car boot sale or traditional market e.g., antique or farmers’ market, and exhibitions where retailing is undertaken.  These may also be mixed with rides and amusements. 

Permanent Markets 

Permanent markets are those markets that wish to open for most of the shopping days throughout the year.  These will not normally be issued with a typical market rights licence, but instead will have a contract that meets the needs of the market as well as providing suitable remuneration for the provision of market rights. These agreements will provide an annual licence fee that reflects the permanent nature of the market.

Non-compliance with the Market Rights or licences

Any non-compliance will be raised with the licensee in order to try to negotiate an agreeable outcome. 

Should a suitable agreement not be found, we may take appropriate action against the licensee, including legal action. In addition, we reserve the right to refuse any future market rights licences. 

In any instance we reserve the right to withdraw a market rights licence and the associated permission for any market operation to continue, as and when necessary. 


If you wish to make a complaint about any market rights licensing matters, please email providing your contact details and as much information as you can.  We will aim to provide you with a full response to your complaint within 10 working days of receipt. 


All appeals must include your name, your contact details and the reason for your appeal. 

To appeal against unsuccessful applications or licence withdrawals, please email within 14 days of receipt of any notice.  The appeals officer will confirm their decision, which shall either uphold the appeal or confirm the outcome of the notice, within 14 days of receipt. 

If you wish to appeal against the decision of the appeals officer, please write to the Council’s Licensing and Appeals Committee (or such Committee to whom the function of dealing with such appeals is from time to time delegated), via the City Solicitor, Town Hall, Manchester M60 2LA, within 14 days of the decision.   The committee is entitled to regulate its own procedure but shall either allow the appeal or confirm the outcome of the decision of the appeals officer.  You will be notified in writing of the decision of the committee as soon as practicable after the decision is reached. 

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