Shop owners are unhappy with an ice cream van nearby as they think it’s scooping their trade.
The van has recently been given permission to operate at a car park in the New Forest, and has proved popular.
Good news for the ice cream van – but other sellers think the easy-access ices are stopping people venturing into the high street of Lyndhurst after going for a walk.
‘Maybe the new van is stopping customers visiting and spending money in shops,’ local councillor Hilary Brand, 48, said.
She runs the Lyndhurst Tea House just a two minute walk away from the van and says business isn’t booming.
‘We thought 2022 was going to be a better year for us, but so far it hasn’t been as good as before the pandemic and we are struggling,’ she said.
‘We know our footfall on the high street is down 20 per cent compared to pre-Covid.
‘We don’t know if that’s because people don’t have the money, or are going abroad – but the new ice cream van could be a factor as to why people aren’t coming to the high street.’
She said ‘lots of businesses on the high street’ have also complained to her that the new van is creaming off the trade.
The new van has been installed at Bolton’s Bench – but local businesses say they were not consulted.
Run by company Warren’s Ice Cream, it had its license approved by both Forestry England and the Verderers – an ancient group responsible for the preservation of the New Forest.
Tim Laine, 71, who runs the Forest Glade Ice Cream parlour on the high street, added: ‘It’s not just the ice cream parlours that will suffer – all the traders on the high street are upset about it because it stops people from going to the high street and spending money.
‘We have nothing against the person who runs the van, but we feel the license should not have been granted.
‘The new van has to be a deterrent to some people who buy ice cream. It must have an effect.’
Warren Dickens, director of Warren’s Ice Cream, declined to comment on complaints regarding his van at Bolton’s Bench.
David Pearson, 59, who has run the Sweet Chillies cafe on the high street for nearly a decade, added: ‘It’s strange for them to put up down the road when there’s 17 places that sell coffee and cake on the high street.
‘I think it’s awful. Absolutely ridiculous. You wouldn’t stick an ice cream van on the pier in Bournemouth, would you?
‘We’re still busy but normally we would have a line all down the street in this weather.’
A Forestry England spokesman said: ‘For many years now, licences have been issued for ice-cream vendors to sell from mobile units within a limited number of Forestry England car parks across the New Forest.
‘The specific location and overall number of vendors we are permitted to licence requires approval from the Verderers of the New Forest and is debated in the publicly open Verderer’s Court.
‘In relation to the new location at Bolton’s Bench it was felt that this would join the existing wide range of competing hospitality and catering options situated both in and around the village. The ice cream vendor joins this already wide range of offers.’
Ice cream van locations will be reviewed in the Verderer’s Court in March 2024, with members of the public having their say.
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