The city council has approved a revised informal trading plan for the Claremont CBD.
The new plan will allow for 63 trading spots, up from the existing 40, according to Grant Twigg, mayoral committee member for urban management.
“All the current legal informal traders that have been trading in the Claremont CBD will be accommodated in the newly approved informal trading plan,” he said.
Sub-council 20 had asked the City’s area economic development department to come up with a new plan to boost economic opportunities in the CBD, he said.
The final trading plan was presented at a Sub-council 20 meeting on Wednesday February 17 and approved by the city council on Thursday April 29.
“Informal trading plays a vital role in creating much-needed employment and economic opportunities, and the City is therefore doing all it can to balance the needs of the formal retail sector with the need for economic development,” Mr Twigg said.
The City would monitor the demarcated sites to check compliance with by-laws and permits, he said.
“The City does not prescribe what must be traded; that is the prerogative and opportunity of the informal trader, as long as they are legal goods and services.”
Ward councillor Ian Iversen said Covid-19 had forced some informal traders to close shop.
“Hopefully, with injections being made available and the economy, recovering informal traders will apply for the vacant sites to restart their businesses,” he said.
The 63 spots for the trading bays had good foot traffic and were close to malls, businesses and public transport, Mr Twigg said. Most were on pavements where Main Road connected with side roads, such as Stegmann Road, Roscommon Street, Warwick Street, Vineyard Road, Ralph Street, Newry Street. Others were at the taxi rank and bus terminus.
Claremont Improvement District executive manger Abdul Kerbelker said informal trading created much needed employment. “We welcome informal trade as part of the vibrant Claremont tenant mix,” he said.
But it should be well-managed, he added, and allow for the free flow of pedestrians on the pavements. The products should also be well presented and the traders should enhance the retail offering in Claremont.
Alexis van der Merwe, chairman of the Upper Claremont Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, said they did not object to the granting of the licences or the positioning of the trading bays. However, they were concerned that a trading bay could take up more than half the pavement once the goods were unpacked. “This makes it difficult for pedestrian movements and access, often leading to people walking in the road around the bay,” he said.
He also wanted to know whether the City could help the traders put up more standardised awnings to improve the appearance of the trading areas.