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For the last six months the Portobello Antique Dealers’ Association, a member of the PMC, have been in vigorous negotiations with the officers of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to reach agreement on trading on the forecourts in Portobello Road and the antiques section of Westbourne Grove.

Problems arose at the start of the year when the new management of the relevant directorate of the council decided (without consultation) to enforce the London Authorities Act 1990 and restrict all trading on pavements and private forecourts to a distance of seven metres from the edge of the pavement. Ignoring a previous unwritten agreement not to apply the letter of the law in W11, summonses were issued against a number of traders who, in the council’s opinion, were trading on forecourts or pavements illegally.

However, although relations were soured, protracted negotiations have produced results. A Memorandum of Understanding has been drafted that the committee of the PADA believe is sensible and will preserve the status quo and the livelihood of the traders and property owners directly affected.

The main elements of this memorandum, to be used by council officers when carrying out their duties, are as follows:

• Frontagers (whether owners or leaseholders) and street traders have specific rights in law in relation to trading in Portobello Road and no part of this agreement can override those legal rights.

• Trading on all pavements/forecourts in Portobello Road from Chepstow Villas to Elgin Crescent (with the exception of outside 117 Portobello Road which will be dealt with separately) and Westbourne Grove between Portobello Road and Kensington Park Road, will continue. Members of the PADA and council officers will agree the width of pavement/forecourt outside all premises on which trading will take place, with the provision that – while some stalls may have to move closer to the buildings concerned – no existing stalls will be lost. The owners/stallholders affected have already been informed and in almost all cases are complying with requests.

• Any enforcement action to be taken in future will have regard to the specific character, history and physical characteristics of the market. These arrangements may be reviewed by agreement at any time but in any event they should be reviewed in May 2008.