Labour councillors were indignant at last night’s Town Hall meeting when it was suggested that they want to ban “Stop Me And Buy One” ice cream vans from the borough.
Tory councillor Yvette Hopley – “I do enjoy a 99” – raised the hot issue at the latest council meeting, concerned at what she regards as “the ultimate in small business” is being elbowed out of Croydon by the borough’s parks and licensing departments.
One Katharine Street insider has suggested to Inside Croydon that the fiendish scheme is deliberately intended by Labour councillors at making times especially tough for their political rival Mario Creatura, the Tory councillor for Coulsdon West. As well as lining his pockets with his council allowance, Creatura has also been paid handsomely as a parliamentary assistant to Gavin Barwell. But if things don’t go according to plan for the Tories in the General Election in Croydon Central on May 7, then Creatura, as well as erstwhile MP Barwell, will be looking for work on May 8.
And somewhere, there’s an ice cream van with Creatura’s name on it.
Last night Hopley, the Conservative councillor for Sanderstead ward, stood up for Creatura’s and all other ice cream vendors’ right to sell ice cream in Croydon, claiming that the Labour-led authority wanted a borough-wide ban on ice cream vans.
Hopley has seen correspondence from the council about the proposed ban, which goes well beyond the perennial concerns about vans parking legally and safely to avoid any accidents on the roads to children buying ice creams. She told Inside Croydon that the ban is also not being considered to protect the concessions of those businesses who run cafes in our parks.
Hopley said that the “work officers have been asked to undertake to ban ice cream vans from trading in the borough from anywhere except designated sites seems so unreasonable”.
The former Mayor of Croydon said, “The whole point of the ice cream van is that it delivers ice cream to individual roads. It is not a shop and therefore does not operate from a fixed site. That certainly would defeat the object.”
Hopley has seen an email from a council official to a retailer in her ward. It states: “We have made some progress in that Croydon Licensing Officers are looking at a ban on Ice Cream Sales borough wide and permits to trade in specific areas”.
Hopley said, “I see the ice cream van as an iconic business, part of our heritage. So when I received an email which had been sent out to a major retailer in my ward, quite frankly I was shocked and in a state of disbelief.”
Tony “One flake or two?” Newman, Labour council leader, acted quickly in the chamber to refute Hopley’s claim of the ban on ice cream vans, and tried to suggest that the Sanderstead councillor had made up the council email by taking to Twitter to say “You couldn’t make it up.” Which is actually the point.
It is clearly a ridiculous waste of Town Hall resources to even consider banning properly licensed and legally operated ice cream vans from trading in the borough. Expect another Croydon Council U-turn, this time performed in an ice cream van playing something that might once have sounded like Greensleeves, and performed probably some time between the two May bank holidays.
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