Online petition urges King’s Lynn ice cream van rethink

Happier days: Peter Byrne with his Italian Ices van in Lynn's Vancouver Quarter with street entertainers during Festival Too. ANL-150326-152139001
Happier days: Peter Byrne with his Italian Ices van in Lynn's Vancouver Quarter with street entertainers during Festival Too. ANL-150326-152139001

Hundreds have signed an online petition calling for the reinstatement of an ice cream seller in Lynn town centre who has been told that he can no longer trade at the site he has occupied for eight years.

As previously reported in the Lynn News, ice cream seller Peter Byrne said he had been told the Vancouver Quarter is “too prestigious” an area for his van to trade there.

Mr Byrne, who operated Italian Ices from his van, said he was deeply upset by the decision and said that he was helping to attract visitors to the town, who came from near and far to buy his ices.

Several people have written letters of support for Mr Byrne and an online petition has now collected more than 300 signatures. It calls for a reversal of the decision of “ousting the ice cream seller from Vancouver Centre”.

It states: “This person is supplying a service to both old and young alike in the town centre, he is doing no harm and the people of King’s Lynn are behind him in keeping his local business running.

“It is not all about the big named shops that come to the town, they will up and move at a moment’s notice.

“This small business owner has laid out money as he has seen a gap in the market for his wares. Mr Peter Byrne has a clean and tidy business, with he himself conscientious and friendly.”

Mr Byrne told the Lynn News yesterday he was “overwhelmed” by the response.

He said: “I would like to thank everyone for all their support and kind words, it just goes to show how passionate people are about their town centre and feel that small businesses should be encouraged to increase the footfall.

“It seems that putting in the CCTV is the problem, but they could put my van somewhere else – there are other options.

“Initially, I had said that I would not return in future, but now I have had this kind of reaction from supporters, it is something I would reconsider.”

Space to Trade are a third party company who are responsible for the street traders and collectors in the town centre, and have posted on Twitter that the decision was made by the Vancouver Quarter management.

Abbie Panks, Vancouver centre manager, said: “We have noted the correspondence in the Lynn News and the petition but there does appear to be confusion about why Mr Byrne is no longer trading in the Vancouver Quarter.

“This was not a decision taken by centre management – something which has been falsely claimed on social media – nor was the decision by our new landlords taken because of the quality of his product.

“The latter has never been in doubt and as the petition and letters show, clearly ice cream is popular.

“The decision was taken because the landlords are looking to make sight lines clearer in that area and with new CCTV cameras being installed, the ice-cream van was deemed too large for its location in particular and, unfortunately, at the moment there is not another suitable site within the Vancouver Quarter.”

The petition can be found at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/ice-cream-vendor?source=facebook-share-button&time= 1428571332