Is this an example of the council interfering where they shouldn’t, or do we need this kind of regulation to guarantee a level playing field for small businesses?
In Grantham, a man who sells flowers from his driveway has been told that he is to be closed down. John Kidd, a former construction worker forced to retire through injury, has been running the flower stall from the driveway of his home for years. But now, he faces action from the council.
He says: “It’s just something I do as a hobby - I’m not going to become a millionaire through it. But, for some reason or another, I’m getting quite a lot of grief from the the council enforcement officer.
“Everyone who comes are basically regulars and everyone has been saying how happy they are to see us back up and running again so I can’t understand it but it seems that one person who doesn’t even live nearby has complained.”
But the council say that the law needs to be upheld: Mark Williets of South Kesteven District Council said: “SKDC was first made aware that Mr Kidd was selling flowers from his property 12 months ago.
“The council looked into this case and advised him that in order to operate this business he would need planning permission, but due to the surrounding residential use and parking restrictions outside his property our advice was that planning permission would most likely not be granted.
“We have looked at a number of options for Mr Kidd to give him an outlet to sell his flowers including the opportunity to have a stall Monday to Friday on our week-day markets. We currently have no vacancies for florists on our Saturday market, however he can put his name on the waiting list.”
Mr Kidd has said that renting a weekday market stall would cost him almost as much as premises for a shop, which he cannot afford.
So what do you think? Is it in the spirit of free enterprise to allow startup entrepreneurs like John Kidd, or are the council right to demand that businesses walk the line? If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur yourself, would you support Mr Kidd’s position?