East Lothian Council

Shopping and Markets in East Lothian

Community Markets

Community Markets

If you are thinking of organising a community market in East Lothian, the following guide gives advice and information to local community groups and organisations considering organising a community market as well as contact details in East Lothian Council and useful website addresses.

Market Organisers' Tips

  • Make sure the venue you have chosen is adequate for the proposed market site access, accessibility to public transport, number of traders and parking facilities. Consider the suitability of the venue and any existing hazards such as access.
  • Consider the impact of the market on the local community - would locals support the event, how easy it will be for people to get to the venue.
  • Consider the time of year and weather, whether people will be available.  The day of the week and time will also need consideration regarding the nature of the market.
  • Identify the aims of the market - to support local business, act as a community focal point, or other.
  • Decide on the type of activities to be held such as cooking demonstrations, children's entertainment and activities.

Market Organisers' Checklist

Planning Permission

Planning permission is required for all markets on public or private land even if the market is a one-off event held on a single occasion during the year.  For further advice, contact East Lothian Council's Planning Department on 01620 827216 or email environment@eastlothian.gov.uk


A licence is required by anyone wishing to operate any private market, whether covered or not, at which goods are offered by more than one seller for sale by retail to the public. The licence may impose various conditions on the organisation of the market. It is the market organiser on behalf of the group, not any individual stallholder, who requires the licence. Additionally, if alcohol is being sold to the public, a separate licence will be needed. To apply for a market operator licence you can download an application form or contact the East Lothian Council's Licensing Section on 01620 828767/820114 or email licensing@eastlothian.gov.uk Health and Safety

Please remember that the organiser of the market has a legal responsibility to ensure the Health & Safety and welfare of any employees, volunteer helpers or contractors involved in arranging the market and to the public and participants attending. This should be ensured by carrying out a detailed risk assessment.  All hazards associated with the market should be identified, the level of risk assessed and appropriate action taken to reduce these risks to an acceptable level. All markets must comply with recognised safety standards and you must take all reasonable precautions to ensure the market takes place safely. For more information regarding risk assessments and a template form visit www.hse.gov.uk/risk/

Food Safety

It is an offence to supply food which is unsafe or harmful to human health or labelled incorrectly. East Lothian Council's Food and Safety team deals with food hygiene and food standards matters in relation to all businesses including markets. The Council carries out regular checks to make sure that the public is protected and that high standards are maintained. The Food & Safety Division will give advice as to stallholder legal requirements and will visit the market to check compliance e.g. labelling of produce, cleanliness etc. For further information about Food Safety regulations Tel: 01620 827365/827213 or email ehts@eastlothian.gov.uk

Trading Standards

East Lothian Council's Trading Standards Service deals with all matters relating to trading standards and consumer protection within East Lothian e.g. pricing, weights and measures and descriptions of goods and services. For further information about Trading Standard regulations tel: 01620 827365/827213 or email ehts@eastlothian.gov.uk.  You can find advice leaflets at www.eastlothian.gov.uk/tradingstandards


You will need to ensure that the market is covered by Public Liability insurance.  Each individual participating stallholder will also require adequate Public Liability insurance. You may wish to refer to an individual insurance broker for further advice. Electricity

Electricity supply cables should be sited carefully and comply with safety regulations. Electricity will be required for the use of refrigeration.

East Lothian Food and Drink

Your event is an ideal opportunity to use local producers to promote and raise awareness to the general public of the wide variety of local seasonal produce available in East Lothian. You can view a list of local producers from the East Lothian Food & Drink directory at http://www.foodanddrinkeastlothian.com/

Useful Contacts and Websites

Identify a market organiser who will lead on the event and deal with all the appropriate paperwork requirements. 

Economic Development, John Muir House, Brewery Park, Haddington, EH41 3HA

Telephone: 01620 827282

Fax: 01620 827482

East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.