Mobile van trader’s joy at reprieve

Harold Mortimer
Harold Mortimer
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A mobile street trader who feared being forced into retirement because of a new council rule says ‘common sense has prevailed’ – after he was granted a reprieve allowing him to carry on selling bread and milk.

Harold Mortimer, aged 70, has delivered daily essentials and confectionery from his van to residents on the Manor and Wybourn estates for 30 years, but fell foul of a new Sheffield Council policy which states mobile shops can only sell fruit and vegetables.

The trader said the move threatened his livelihood – and the council was met with an outcry from readers of The Star, who left scores of comments online in support of Harold.

At a licensing committee meeting yesterday, Harold was granted a licence to sell ‘fruit, vegetables, bakery goods and milk’ through his business Mortimers Bread and Confectionery after councillors agreed his case was exceptional.

And following the meeting, the trader said he thought the decision was ‘very fair’. “I have no complaints,” said Harold, from Mosborough. “Common sense has prevailed and everything has been clarified.

“It would have put me out of work, as simple as that, but I have no worries now.”

Committee member Coun Jillian Creasy said the new licence meant Mortimers could trade in two distinct areas, Manor and Wybourn.

“It’s right that he brought it to the committee,” she said.

“We want to protect corner shops but we also want mobile traders to have a business.

“It’s our job to make licensing policies that protect both.

“We’ve recently changed the policy to be slightly firmer, and he’s fallen foul of that.

“If people have got exceptional circumstances, that’s fine.”

The amendments split mobile traders into two categories – those selling ice cream and those selling fruit and vegetables only.

They also ruled that mobile traders could not remain static for more than 20 minutes, or return to the same site in the same week.

“We’ve allowed him to carry on doing what he’s doing with conditions specific to him,” Coun Creasy added.

“In Manor and Wybourn there are very few corner shops.”

A Sheffield Council spokesman said: “Following complaints received from local shopkeepers and mobile traders, consultation took place earlier this year to review the conditions placed on existing consents and on the impact from those that trade illegally or were in breach of their conditions.

“Discussions took place to try to find a fair resolution that would work in our city and, as a result of this, some changes were introduced.

“The licensing committee will listen to appeals from traders who wish to challenge the restrictions placed on their businesses.”