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Council ‘frozen’ over ice cream van

picCONCERNS have been expressed that Pembrokeshire County Council has ‘turned a blind eye’ to an unlicensed seaside trader operating at Freshwater West this summer.

A source who has approached the Herald but who did not wish to be named, claims that a Saundersfoot-based ice cream van trading under the name ‘Holly’s Lollies,’ has been operating from the roadside at Freshwater West for months without a trading license. It is also claimed that the local authority has done nothing to intervene, despite being aware of the situation.

Photographs that were sent to us show the ice cream van trading at Freshwater West on 23rd July, details which can be corroborated from an RNLI safety information noticeboard placed on the verge which the van pulled up alongside.

A license of the type required to trade from an ice cream van could cost in the region of £4,000. It is claimed that Pembrokeshire County Council, the licensing authority responsible for issuing licenses and regulating trading activity, was made aware by a member of the public about the unlicensed trading some weeks before the photographs were taken.

The van was also seen operating at the same spot opposite the Freshwater West car park by a Herald correspondent as recently as last week.

A spokesperson for the council, Len Mullins, denied that the council was turning a blind eye, and said: “The Authority is aware that ‘Holly’s Lollies’ has been street trading without the appropriate consent. We have written to the owner and he has attended a meeting in County Hall which highlighted the illegal trading.”

Mr. Mullins claimed that the council had ‘intervened’ and ‘issued appropriate warnings to the owner,’ however when asked, he revealed that no application for a license had yet been received by the authority.

We also asked what stance the council took on unlicensed trading activity, and were told: “Unlicensed trading will be reviewed and appropriate action will be taken. Current street trading policy has been in force since 2011. To date no prosecutions have been brought for illegal trading.”

In response to whether the authority would consider offering recompense to traders who had paid their necessary trading license fees, no response was received, however the Herald has been told that ‘the issue at Freshwater West is under review.’

Hollys Lollies boss Kevin Goldsworthy told The Herald: “I don’t need consent to sell Ice Creamat Fresh Water West if doing so is part of my mobile rounds. I have been inspected by the Environmental Health and have been selling ice cream for thirty years. If there are new rules how am I supposed to abide by rules that I don’t even know about.”

He added: “The Council told me that even if I was willing to pay £1,500 for a licence to sell icecream at Fresh Water West they wouldn’t grant me one. The Council are in with the National Trust and would prefer that there was no ice cream van, so people can pay £6 for a burger at the cafe instead”

Mr Goldsworthy concluded by saying “Mobile rounds are obviously allowed so how long am I actually permitted to stop for, and how will they enforce the rules? Are they going to get a traffic warden to follow me around?”