Ice cream sellers could be forced to trade at least 50 metres apart in potential changes to street trading rules.

Blackburn with Darwen Council is looking at the way it handles street trading ahead of putting together a draft policy later this year.

It is also suggested any food vendors with a hygiene rating lower than three could be refused a licence.

People applying for licences may in future be asked to provide a disclosure certificate to identify any convictions they have, as well as staff they may employ.

If any convictions are disclosed on the certificate, the application would be referred to the general licensing subcommittee for determination.

Prospective traders could also have to prove any employees have the right to work in the UK.

It is also suggested any food vendors with a hygiene rating lower than three could be refused a licence.

Some authorities have introduced restrictions on trading within a set radius of a school or other educational establishment.

As part of the process, a review of areas where street trading is banned could also be carried out.

Currently, councils are under no duty to grant a street trading consent and do not need to specify grounds for refusal.

There is no statutory limitation on a council’s power to revoke or refuse to renew a street trading consent. There is no right of appeal against refusal to grant or renew consent or against the revocation or variation of consent.

Council bosses say the revision of a street trading policy would provide guidance to applicants on how to apply, inform how applications are determined and detail the enforcement procedure and complaints investigations.

A draft policy is expected to be prepared and brought before the next licensing committee meeting in June for approval to consult with members of the public.

Existing street traders and other interested parties including the highways department, Lancashire Constabulary, the town centre management team and the environment team would also be consulted.

At the moment, traders must provide a basic food hygiene certificate or the ability to demonstrate knowledge and understanding to level two of basic food hygiene or equivalent.

An inspection of the stall or vehicle will be carried out by an authorised officer to ensure it meets the requirements laid down in the council's code of practice.

If all requirements are met and the inspection is passed the consent will be granted.

But if the premises are not up to scratch and the inspection is failed, traders can withdraw their application and be refunded the fee.

Alternatively they could also choose to rectify the issues and a further inspection will be arranged.

There is no right of appeal for a refused application for street trading consent.

The issue will be discussed by the council's licensing committee at Blackburn Town Hall tonight.