Ice cream business faces battle over pitch after 80 years

Rosita Hunt pictured in Millhouses Park, Sheffield, with her Granelli's ice cream van.
Rosita Hunt pictured in Millhouses Park, Sheffield, with her Granelli's ice cream van.
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AN ICE cream business which has been trading at a Sheffield park for more than 80 years could lose its pitch because of new council rules.

Granelli’s is one of South Yorkshire’s oldest businesses and has been selling ice creams in shops, trailers and vans since 1874.

Luigi Granelli set up his stall outside Millhouses Park more than 80 years ago - and ever since a member of his family has sold cones, sweets and drinks to children in weather fair and foul.

His granddaughter Rosita Hunt, who now runs Granelli’s with her son, remembers being at the park as a small child with her father and uncle, who took over from Luigi.

Now the council is threatening to take away her right to trade outside the park gates on Abbeydale Road South.

“We found out three or four weeks ago,” she said. “The council says they are offering it out to tender and we have had to re-apply to trade there.

“It’s the first time we have ever had to do this and there’s no guarantee we’re going to get it.

“The customers are all very upset and are talking about getting a petition together.”

Granelli’s is not the first historic Sheffield business to be threatened by the council’s new procurement rules.

The Pullin family, who have been running fun fairs in South Yorkshire’s parks for seven generations, last year lost the right to run the boat rides at Millhouses and now their popular Endcliffe Park Fair is also threatened.

More than 2,000 people have signed a petition to save the Endcliffe operation.

Sheffield Council policy manager for parks and countryside David Cooper said: “The procurement process is standard and something we have to go through with all contracts to make sure we are getting the best value for money for Sheffield people.

“Going out to tender for the ice cream provision at Millhouses Park is just the same as what we have done in other parks in the city.

“Granelli’s has put forward a bid to secure the contract and they will be judged just the same as everyone else. This is a fair and competitive process.”