Waiting limit imposed on ice cream vans despite objections from the elderly
A 15-minute waiting time limit for ice cream vans has been introduced by a local authority - despite claims it could pose problems for elderly customers.
Worcester City Council said the ruling will govern how long mobile street traders can remain at a single location - and allow them up to 30 minutes if a queue forms.
The change has been brought in after complaints from other street traders holding static licences, who expressed concerns that mobile traders have been loitering for too long.
A public consultation on the issue prompted 77 responses, including 60 delivered to the council by the holder of a mobile street trading licence.
Some of the responses are reported to have been from pensioners "hostile" to the new time limit.
But Allah Ditta, chair of Worcester City Council's Licensing and Environmental Health Committee, disputed claims that the elderly would be disadvantaged.
The councillor said: "The introduction of a 15-minute time slot for mobile street traders with a maximum waiting time of 30 minutes if there is queue will in practice make no difference to most traders.
"The majority of them have established routes and times, and would never normally stay in one spot for 30 minutes.
"We certainly do not expect anyone to struggle to get to a street trader in time - most customers are used to ice cream vans turning up at particular locations and particular times."
Mr Ditta said the licensing committee agreed the change following complaints from businesses with static street trading licences - including other ice cream vendors - which only allow them to operate from one location.
"They were concerned that some mobile traders were staying in the same spot for long periods of time, despite having not paid for a static licence," the councillor added.