Cold war over Sheffield ice cream van

A cold war has broken out between an ice cream man and a Sheffield mum.

Wednesday, 16th May 2018, 1:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th May 2018, 1:26 pm
Sheffield Town Hall

Paul Grayson has been given a licence to trade outside Birley Community Primary School on Thornbridge Avenue despite protests.

Local mum AnnMarie Reid and headteacher Dawn McAughey had objected. Ms Reid had taken videos of the van, claiming it was causing an obstruction - while Mr Grayson then reported her to police for filming children.

A war of words broke out at a council’s licensing meeting. Ms Reid said the ice cream van caused traffic problems on the one-way street, was selling unhealthy food and Mr Grayson had been abusive to her and other parents.

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Mr Grayson said he was parked legally, was looking at low-sugar options and denied allegations of intimidation.

Council officers who visited the road said Mr Grayson was not parked illegally - but parents at the school were themselves causing traffic problems.

Neil Gibson, speaking on behalf of Mr Grayson, told the licensing board there was a 221 name petition supporting the ice cream van, which would be there from April to September at lunchtime then again from 3pm to 4.30pm.

Mr Gibson read a statement from Mr Grayson: “I am a family man and work hard to keep a roof over my family’s head. If I lose this, it will be difficult as the sales make up a lot of my income.

“I get on well with customers and don’t believe I am causing an obstruction. There’s no danger to children and I am legally parked.

“Outside school it’s parents who decide what children can and can’t eat and I am looking at stocking yoghurt and sugar free drinks.

“I have never tried to intimidate anyone. I am hard working and have been working with children for nearly 28 years selling ice creams. I’m a fit and proper person, I am genuine, sincere and just want to provide a living. I have dozens of satisfied customers.”

Ms Reid claimed Mr Grayson became abusive in a row over a parking space. “I was once parked in his spot and he banged on the window swearing at me to move. He’s all round nasty if you park in his spot. He’s not a fit and proper person.

“I have video evidence that he is an obstruction and that traffic does build up behind him. If anyone beeps their horn, they get sworn at. Quite a few people on his petition are other ice cream vendors.”

Chairman of the licensing board, Coun Josie Paszek, said: “We are granting this license because officers have observed the site on more than one occasion and say the van does not cause an obstruction. The headteacher has sent a very brief email with no details of complaints. When Mr Grayson comes back in a year make sure there is an exemplary record.”