AN ice cream van is damaging trade at Rye’s Strand say angry shop owners.
Traders are furious that the Environment Agency has allowed the van to operate from land it owns on the quayside.
Concerned shop owners have already held a meeting to discuss the situation.
Stephen Lovell, who runs Tambika, gallery and cafe at the Strand (pictured), said: “We are here all year round struggling to make a living in the winter and paying our business tax and then someone just comes in and takes our trade.
“There are at least six shops selling ice creams in this area. There is no need for a van.
“It will also cause problems in what is already a busy area with vehicles pulling up to park and get an ice cream and create more litter.
“We are concerned that this will open the floodgates for more things to come in.”
The ice cream van first appeared over the Easter weekend and was in place from Good Friday to Sunday.
Rye councillor Mary Smith said: “Local traders are naturally very worried by this development. The ice cream van, apparently from a London multiple operator, therefore taking money out of Rye, was introduced without any consultation by the Environment Agency with local businesses. “Ice cream van means constant diesel emissions. It is close to the pedestrian crossing and roundabout where there are already parking infringements taking place.
“It has the potential to cause more hold-ups on what is already a busy route
“Rye traders, who pay costs of premises and business rates and bring money to Rye, are unfairly affected by this.”
There are now growing rumours that the Environment Agency has granted an operating permit to a burger van.
Rye Town Clerk Richard Farhall said: “We are still awaiting a response from them as to whether a burger van is being considered.
“The Council was not consulted by the Environment Agency over Strand Quay, as they agreed to do.”
Rye Town Council have checked the illegal street trading situation with Rother Council but Rother has said the ice cream van is a lawful trading activity which has been confirmed as a six month agreement.