BATTLING coffee van owner Mark Lee-Kilgariff is vowing to fight new licence rules which have seen him call it a day for now at his Moorside pitch.

Mark’s bright orange Tatton Perk van is popular with families visiting the Moor, especially on a Sunday.

However he no longer sells his coffee from Moorside after Cheshire East Council renewed his street trader licence with conditions he says make trading next to the Moor unworkable and not cost-effective.

Mark’s trade at the Moor accounted for 43 per cent of his income, but his licence stipulates Tatton Perk’s Moorside trading time is now limited to two hours before Mark has to move to one of his other sites.

He can then return to Moorside, says the council, after a ‘significant amount of time, for example trading for two hours, moving to another site for an hour, then returning to Moorside for another two hours’.

Until recently Mark had a ‘rolling dispensation’, allowing him to park all day, every day, but now has to move every two hours from Monday to Saturday.

Although he has been given two hours’ trading time, parking restrictions during the week would leave him one hour 20 minutes to trade as it takes 40 minutes to set up and stow everything away.

Mark is able to trade for a full two hours at one time on Sunday when weekday parking restrictions don’t apply, but he says this is still not long enough to make trading cost-effective.

Knutsford Guardian:

The town council’s planning and licensing committee voted to object to Mark’s application for a renewal of Tatton Perk’s street trader licence.

The committee said Moorside trading by Tatton Perk would harm nearby town centre businesses, and siting the pitch on a congested road near a children’s playground could create road safety problems.

The committee’s objection went to Cheshire East, which also received an 847-name petition backing Mark’s fight to continue at Moorside.

Mark is determined to fight on, and is seeking a face to face meeting with the officer who agreed the new rules to ask what evidence was considered in making the conditions.

He also wants to know if the officer took the petition, one of the biggest submitted to the council, a paper petition, 30 letters of support and backing from Friends of the Moor, into account.

“The council states I can trade for unlimited hours at Moorside, but in two-hour blocks, with one hour away from the site,” said Mark.

“I would arrive, wait for a parking space, set up for 25 minutes, serve my customers for one hour 20 minutes, then stop serving, stow everything and drive away,” said Mark.

“Then I have one hour to kill, possibly parking in the car park opposite the Moor.

“After an hour I wait for a space – this has taken up to 90 minutes in the past – 25 minutes set-up, serve, stow, leave, park for an hour, ad nauseam.

“Having my trading disrupted like this means I can’t give any opening times to my customers, and I’d be spending far too much time setting up, cleaning down and waiting to return for it to be worthwhile.

“Cheshire East are clearly not worried about any ‘adverse impact’ on local businesses, as the town council were, as the hours I can stay are unlimited, between 6am and 8pm.

“They clearly don’t share the town council’s concerns about road safety as they have renewed the licence for all sites.

“So why impose this ridiculous, disruptive two-hour rule on Sundays, when parking restrictions don’t apply?

“Last year was straightforward. I checked with the parking enforcement officers, who told me I had a ‘rolling dispensation’ and could park all day, every day – as the ice cream van does.

“I have recently been told this isn’t the case, and have to move after two hours from Monday to Saturday.

“Trading on Monday to Saturday is out of the question now given the two-hour parking regulations, but Sunday was the day I hoped I would be able to serve my customers all day.

“I would likely be there at least three out of every four Sundays.”

Mark thanked everyone for their support, and said he was genuinely sorry he couldn’t be at the Moor.

“I really enjoy working at the park and chatting with everyone,” he said.

“I’ll keep fighting Cheshire East, and hope to get permission to trade all day Sunday – this is the best I can hope for now.

“Weekdays are out of the question due to parking regulations I’m governed by.

“The lovely folk at Toft Cricket Club have been following the battle I’m having, and have invited me to join them for Cricket All Stars every Saturday throughout the summer.”