So you want to… hold car boot sales on your farm? – Farmers


Car boot sales generally is a worthwhile diversification for farms which are in the best location, however they arrive with a number of guidelines, laws and different concerns.

Just as charity outlets have populated the UK’s excessive streets lately, so too has the car boot sale turn out to be a ubiquitous characteristic within the countryside.

The British public can’t resist a discount and this has been a key driver to the proliferation of sales in farm fields.

Michael Mack, of The Rural Consultant, says it may be a comparatively simple enterprise to arrange, however it could possibly’t be achieved half-heartedly.

See additionally: Farmers warned to verify tax implications of on-site occasions

“You must do it nicely, maximise stallholder numbers and seize add-on charges, equivalent to a share of the revenue from hospitality suppliers,” he says.

“If you give clients a superb expertise they’ll come again.”

Hosting a car boot sale requires cautious consideration and planning, each to fulfill laws and guarantee native communities aren’t affected by site visitors congestion and litter.

Do I want planning permission?

Under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, a landowner can use open land for a car boot sale for as much as 14 days and not using a requirement for planning permission.

But the 14 days apply to daily {that a} area is getting used for something aside from agricultural functions, so organising and clearing up days should to be factored in.

“The area have to be utterly clear the day earlier than and after a sale for these days to not rely. Even leaving gadgets on the sector equivalent to a conveyable bathroom or a shelter may very well be construed as continued use,” Mr Mack advises.

“It is a good suggestion to maintain proof that this rule is being complied with as an area resident might very simply complain and this might end in a go to by an enforcement officer. Having a diary or different proof of when a sale began and completed may help in that state of affairs.”

If the 14-day threshold is exceeded, planning permission is required and that’s the case too if any everlasting constructions or new entry gateways are created.

Does the occasion should be licensed?

Even when sales are run for 14 days or much less, the native authority have to be suggested {that a} market is happening, as an working licence is required.

Fees differ in response to council, with some charging an annual price and others for every occasion.

The applicant should reveal that there’s a technique in place for controlling noise, litter and site visitors.

Will I must pay enterprise charges?

There is restricted score steerage concerning car boot sales, which needs to be checked with an area rankings officer or tax adviser.

Is it higher to outsource to a 3rd get together?

There are third-get together car boot sales operators which are actively seeking to lease land, says Simon Foster, of Savills.

The good thing about that is they’re taking on the danger; in return, the farmer will get a decrease revenue.

“There are some actually good third-get together operators, however there are additionally some which are much less respected,” says Mr Foster.

“It is your status on the road because the landowner so you have to ensure you are partnering with somebody who’s going to do it nicely.”

If a 3rd get together is concerned, ensure that they’ve a plan in place for car parking, staffing and garbage assortment.

Traffic administration

The organising of car boot sales largely occurs very early within the day with some sellers turning up from 6am.

They additionally contain lots of people and car actions and this will have a unfavorable impact on the neighborhood.

“It is vital to be courteous and respectful of the local people,” says Mr Mack.

“An operator must work out the right way to get automobiles off the street rapidly in order that they’re queuing on their land and never on the principle freeway.”

Suitability of website

Soil sort is vital – free-draining soil will imply fewer cancellations following heavy rain or time spent towing automobiles off the location if circumstances deteriorate.

Separate entry and exit factors will likely be wanted too except a gateway is extensive sufficient to permit automobiles to reach and depart on the identical time to forestall queuing on the street and irate drivers ready within the area.

Some councils specify a minimal width of 4.5m for a gateway used for entry and exit.

Staffing the occasion

Marshals will likely be wanted to direct site visitors and to handle operations on website.

Make certain they’re nicely briefed, can work effectively and are kitted out in excessive-visibility clothes.

“There could be disputes on the sector so marshals have to be able to coping with conditions like that,” says Mr Mack.

Publicising the sale

Temporary area indicators may very well be used, however there are particular planning legal guidelines round signage so verify with the native authority what’s permissible as they are going to be fast to police indicators that contravene the principles.

“Charity occasions have some exemptions for area indicators for promoting, however this gained’t apply to a business occasion like a car boot sale,” says Mr Mack.

He additionally recommends making a enterprise web page on Facebook to advertise the occasion.


Insurance suppliers supply tailor-made cowl for infrequent sales, incorporating public legal responsibility.

Mr Foster recommends a minimal £20m price of public legal responsibility insurance coverage for occasions of this sort.

“Sadly there have been fatalities and critical accidents and the claims made have been substantial,” he says.

He advises {that a} danger evaluation of the location should happen.

“As a landowner you have an obligation of care: to the occasion promoter if you are hiring out the location for a sale or to the general public if you are operating it. If a 3rd get together is concerned you should present them with a replica of that danger evaluation.”

Pitch charges

Visiting different car boot sales within the locality is one of the simplest ways to gauge what payment stage to set as you will likely be in competitors with them.

Tax implications

To qualify for inheritance tax (IHT) and agricultural property aid (APR), land should have been owned and occupied for agricultural functions for at the very least seven years when it’s occupied by another person, or at the very least two years the place it’s occupied by the proprietor.

The laws refers back to the function of the occupation being primarily for husbandry, so occasional use for a car boot sale could not essentially preclude the land from qualifying, says accountant Martyn Dobinson, of Saffery Champness.

However, if the use just isn’t primarily husbandry, or the land is taken out of agricultural use completely, then it gained’t qualify.

“Each case would should be thought-about on its personal deserves because the place will not be conclusive,” says Mr Dobinson.

In phrases of VAT, there have been a number of profitable challenges by HMRC the place it has been deemed that VAT ought to have been utilized to the pitch charges.

Mr Dobinson advises organisers to have proof to help their place ought to they should defend an HMRC enquiry.

“The implications may also rely on whether or not the occasion organiser is VAT-registered and whether or not, for people who aren’t, the extra taxable revenue suggestions the organiser over the VAT registration threshold of £85,000,” he says.

Case research: Tripes Farm, Orpington, Kent

Hartley, Charles and Claretta George at car boot sale

Hartley, Charles, and Claretta George © The George Family

The George household have been operating 14 car boot sales a 12 months at Tripes Farm, Orpington, Kent, since 1988, after promoting their dairy herd to develop farm permutations.

Their land sits on the city fringe throughout the London borough of Bromley, a extremely populated area, and is definitely accessible.

They opted to run the sales themselves and lately brother and sister Hartley and Claretta George have been caring for all the things from upkeep to licence functions.

The first sales attracted about 30 sellers, however there can now be as many as 250.

Mr George says the sales have a superb status and that’s vital. “We all the time attempt to be nicely managed and a number of the individuals who come right here inform us how nicely-mannered the marshals are.”

The website additionally has a block of 5 plumbed-in bathrooms that are stored clear and nicely maintained.

While some operators will strive to save cash by not slicing the grass, the Georges all the time mow their area earlier than a sale, though commissioning  a contractor is one other price.

It sits on chalk soil so even when there may be heavy rain through the week it’s going to have drained away earlier than the weekend sale.

An Occasional Sale licence is required for each occasion. Bromley council costs £278 however presents a reduction if 14 licences are purchased directly, bringing the annual price all the way down to £3,503.

With every utility a plan of the sector structure have to be offered, displaying element equivalent to litter disposal factors, in addition to the areas devoted to parking and an estimate of the quantity of people that could attend.

The laws the Georges should adhere to beneath the London Local Authorities Act 1996 state that registration playing cards have to be given to every vendor to show these particulars on their pitch for purchasers to see.

Sellers are charged a scale of charges – £12 a car, £15 for smaller vans and £18 for something bigger than a typical van. There is a further £1 cost for trailers.

With different operators placing up their charges this 12 months as a result of rising prices, the Georges are additionally contemplating a rise.

“I fear that for a small quantity it’d put folks off, however all of our prices are rising, as an example the diesel to mow the grass,” says Mr George.

There is not any entry payment for consumers – some operators will cost 50p to browse, however that can lead to parking on the native verges and laybys.

One of the unfavorable facets of operating a sale is clearing up litter that’s left behind.

“We used to have a skip filled with garbage on the finish of each sale, however we are actually getting more durable on folks, and now we have marshals going round monitoring this,” he says.

“We nonetheless have to rent a skip, however a a lot smaller one, and we maintain this out of sight and it’s largely solely half full after every sale.”

The enterprise additionally pays litter pickers. “If you are grazing a area with sheep afterwards you don’t want garbage on the location,” says Mr George.

He says internet hosting the sales is worthwhile, however not as a lot because it as soon as was, as a result of greater staffing, administrative, waste disposal and promoting prices, though the promoting funds has been diminished by relying on status and social media retailers.

There is way more competitors from on-line websites too, Mr George provides.


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