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Power struggle over ice cream vendors
Published 01/09/14

A FAMILY which has sold ice cream in Henley for more than 30 years has been threatened with losing its licence to trade.

However, the Battistas could still have the last laugh due to the power supply they provide to the two sites in Mill Meadows and New Street where they sell ice cream, fizzy drinks and bottled water.

They have operated an ice cream van on the public slipway in New Street since the Eighties and have had an ice cream cart in Mill Meadows for more than 20 years.

The family’s vendor’s agreement with the town council will expire on September 19 after five years.

They have paid £1,600 a year for each site and are prepared to pay another £100 each year until 2019.

But on Tuesday, the council’s town and community committee recommended that the council should “test the market” to see if it could get a better deal.

The committee also agreed to recommend that the electrical service pillar at the New Street slipway should be moved to allow better access for boat users following complaints. The council has been quoted £2,600 plus VAT for the work.

However, when the pillar was installed by the council in 1997 it was paid for by the Battistas and town clerk Mike Kennedy said he was worried about the effect of not allowing the family to continue trading as they paid for the power supply.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: “The current licensee provides the power at both locations so they could say ‘we will take our power away’.”

Deputy Mayor Jeni Wood had argued for renewing the family’s agreement, saying: “I have not heard one complaint about them.

“I can’t see a reason why not to let them carry on. It is nice to be loyal sometimes — in fact, all the time.”

Giusepinno Battista, from High Wycombe, who runs the vending operations for the family, said: “I have a good relationship with the council and as far as I was concerned I was just renewing the licence.

“I will make no further comment until a final decision is made.”

A final decision will be made by the full council on September 23.

The committee also agreed to write to the Environment Agency asking it to consider de-silting the area by the New Street slipway.

Councillor Will Hamilton, who owns a boat, said: “The river is silted up and you can only use the slipway for smaller boats and canoes.”

Published 01/09/14

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