New ice cream van rules mean sellers lose 'half' their business 'overnight'

New ice cream van rules mean vans are losing "HALF" their business OVERNIGHT. Calogero Galletta has been selling ice cream near Hampton Court Palace for 53 years, but says he lost half his business overnight due to a council blunder, he has warned.

In 1996, the council issued separate street trading licences to three mobile ice cream businesses, allowing them to operate at different times on the pitch. Giuseppe Smeraglia and Lorenzo Galletta were granted licences to trade alternately each month, excluding one Sunday.

Carlo Marchese was granted a licence to trade on the two remaining Sundays every month. Mr Marchese's licence was later passed to his daughter Carmela Cavallino after his and her brother's deaths. The council was asked to transfer Mr Smeraglia's licence to Mr Galletta's son Calogero after he retired in 2019.

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Mr Galletta and Ms Cavallino were told it would need to advertise the pitch at these times following her request, which they then both applied for. Mr Galletta said: "My natural assumption was I carry on as I am and, obviously, we’re now four years down the line and are being told by the council it’s a mistake, and this is the process, I accept that, but obviously I’m not happy about it because overnight I’ve lost 50 per cent of my business just by what I personally feel was an error on the council’s side… I wasn’t really given the full facts of how that licence should have been put out."

Ms Cavallino claimed her dad previously said if Mr Smeraglia or Mr Galletta stood down, it would 'only be fair that he then took over to make it easier as well and fair on the days', which is what she applied for. She said she is 'passionate' about the pitch and her family's business has been trading there since 1960.

Ms Cavallino told the commitee: "I’m going to leave it into your hands to make this fair and I’d like to carry on with my dad’s legacy and the family business and expand, like we’re all trying to expand." The committee resolved the dispute by equally splitting the trading hours between Mr Galletta and Ms Cavallino.

Mr Galletta will trade at the pitch every week except for the first two Sundays of each month and the six days following, which are allocated to Ms Cavallino.