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Monday, January 17, 2022

DUP concern following ‘heavy handed approach’ to trading infringement

DUP Councillors have expressed concern at a council committee meeting on Tuesday evening over Councils ‘heavy-handed approach’ to minor trading infringements.

Concerns were raised when a family run business was told on the 4th January 2022 by Causeway Coast & Glens Council to cease trading from their location on Castlerock promenade. That failure to comply with the request would commence legal proceedings immediately.

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A DUP spokesperson said: “Local DUP Councillors recently became aware of Street Trader Licence Infringements which have resulted in termination notices being issued to a small number of local businesses.

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“The reality is that these local businesses have diversified from their primary business by serving hot beverages during the winter period rather than just ice cream and confectionary and as a result Bann DEA Cllr Adrian McQuillan submitted a request for ‘Officers to provide members with a detailed update on any issues there is with Council Trading Pitch Licenses throughout the Borough’.

“We support Councils requirement to keep control of ‘Trading Pitches’ but tonight proposed that flexibility and common sense be used and are delighted to have received support for the implementation of a ‘Variation Application Process’ where Traders can apply to have their T&C’s changed. It was also agreed that recent termination notices are scrapped to allow these traders the opportunity to apply for a Variation.

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“Unfortunately Councillors have been heavily blamed unfairly for decisions made during what can only be described as a ‘heavy handed approach’ by council officers during times when we should be doing all we can to support local business owners so to ensure a more balanced and fair approach in the future, we have also insisted that all future variation applications and enforcement notices are agreed by council prior to being issued – If Councillors are getting the blame, we should be making the decisions.”

The business at the centre of this story, Braemar Farm Ice Cream, took to social media to issue their own statement on Wednesday morning, writing; “As some of you may be aware there has been speculation on local news pages regarding the suspension/withdrawal of our trading licence.

“I’m really not keen on all this drama and it’s difficult when the general public get part of a story and are tempted to jump to conclusion or point blame. However, as always, the kindness and support we have received has far outweighed the negativity – Thank you to everyone who contacted us.

“After help from several local councillors and a little common sense; (Our) Ice Cream licence has been REINSTATED and Hot Drinks (previously included but removed last year) subject to a new further licence, (Both waiting ratification at full council).

“Running a family business is like a roller coaster- throw in social media, the local council & a global pandemic and it’s hard to keep on track at times!”

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