Cold war as Sheffield's 'oldest' ice cream sellers face battle to keep pitch

Customers queue for an ice cream from the Cuneo's van at the Peace Gardens
Customers queue for an ice cream from the Cuneo's van at the Peace Gardens
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Ice cream vendors whose family have plied their trade in Sheffield for more than 150 years face a fight to keep their city centre pitch.

Andrew Cuneo's family firm, which sells frozen goods at the Peace Gardens and at the foot of Fargate, near Boots, was founded by his great-grandfather Luigge Cuneo in 1864 and has helped generations of customers keep cool.

Annette Brown

Annette Brown

But Cuneo's, which claims to be the city's oldest ice cream purveyor, is locked in a battle to remain at the Peace Gardens after city centre managers took objection to the look of its van.

Mr Cuneo and his business partner Inglana Saqladi had a trailer unit at the spot, overlooking the fountains.

But recently they have been using a more traditional ice cream van as Mr Cuneo says he is unable to move the trailer due to health problems.

The 56-year-old says he is recovering from a blood clot to the lung and has pneumonia, so medics have advised him not to over-exert himself.

Richard Burton

Richard Burton

The duo applied successfully in April to temporarily vary their licence so they could use a van, and they have now asked for that permission to be extended as Mr Cuneo continues his recovery.

But Sheffield Council's city centre management team has objected to the van staying, as it believes the vehicle mars the look of the area.

"The Peace Gardens is our prime site and we cannot allow a relaxing of the quality criteria, particularly in this area. An ice cream van is simply not in fitting with the surroundings," a team manager wrote.

The team added that it was prepared to allow the original unit to remain in place for now, rather than being moved each day, given Mr Cuneo's health problems.

Rhys (left) and Riley Colgan with their aunt Katy Davies and grandmother Margaret Davies

Rhys (left) and Riley Colgan with their aunt Katy Davies and grandmother Margaret Davies

A decision is due to be made on Thursday (June 29) by the council's licensing sub-committee.

Customers in the Peace Gardens said they could not understand the 'fuss' over the van's appearance.

Annette Brown, a retired factory worker, aged 69, of Darnall, said: "The van's clean and it looks alright to me. The ice cream is nice and I can't see what harm it's doing there. If they had to move on I would miss my ice cream.

Margaret Davies, who was in the Peace Gardens with her family, said: "It looks fine to me. I don't think it lowers the tone or spoils the area. The mobile unit they had before was nice but if this is just temporary I can't see what the fuss is about.

Cuneo's also has an ice cream van at the foot of Fargate

Cuneo's also has an ice cream van at the foot of Fargate

Her grandson Riley Colgan added: "I think the van's fabulous and should be allowed to stay there. It's a retro, family-friendly kind of feature."

Richard Burton, a 69-year-old businessman, of Rotherham, said: "It doesn't bother me and I've seen a lot of families using it. In Rotherham they put a sand pit outside the ice cream van to make children think they're at the beach. Maybe they should try that here."

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