Well over 700 Penarth residents and visitors people have now signed a fast-growing petition demanding that the Vale of Glamorgan Council drops its ban on Nicola’s Juice & Coffee Bar on Penarth Pier selling ice cream.
Nicola’s Juice Bar has been in business on Penarth Pier for 11 years but when proprietor Nicola Sullivan first signed the lease of the pier premises there were conditions attached by the Vale Council which meant that she was forbidden to sell ice cream.
Although Nicola’s Juice Bar is renowned for the quality of its smoothies, coffee, hot chocolate, soup, snacks, cakes and panninis, her landlords – the Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council – has consistently refused her permission to change the terms of her lease and sell ice-cream to her customers.
The Vale had determined that only the kiosk next door – “Decks“- could sell ice cream actually on the pier boardwalk.
The Vale decision effectively gave Decks a monopoly of ice cream sales on the pier and restricted customers’ choice to only one outlet .
However in July another ice cream outlet materialised on the pier offering an alternative new brand of ice cream on the pier .
This was the Penarth Pier Pavilion Cafe which become the second ice-cream retailer on the pier – selling an alternative brand of ice-cream to those already sold by Decks .
The Pier Pavilion is owned by the Vale of Glamorgan Council and is leased on a 125 year lease to Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd – but it had not sold ice cream at its cafe at any time from its re-opening in 2013 up until to July this year when it launched its “Farmer Tom” West Country Ice Cream. The Pier Pavilion management is however , supporting the quest by Nicola’s Juice and Coffee Bar to serve ice cream, whilst Decks is understood to be opposing it.
The situation prompted Mrs Nicola Sullivan to demand a meeting with Vale Council officials. Mrs Sullivan – says “If you can’t sell ice cream on a seaside pier then just where can you sell it?” . In a 40-minute face-to-face meeting with Vale Council Estates Officer Angela Bailey, Mrs Sullivan asked Ms Bailey – point blank – “Why can’t I sell ice-cream?” and says the reply she received was “I don’t know”.
In the meantime, word about a Nicola’s Juice Bar petition circulated rapidly around the sea-front. Several residents of the nearby Balmoral and Seabank apartments asked for petition proformas and got dozens of other residents to sign . As of yesterday afternoon at total of 738 people had signed the petition.
A letter then arrived from the Vale Council which attempted to justify the continued ice-cream sales ban by claiming that the ban was – somehow – in the interests of the public. It asserted that the restriction was imposed in order to “diversify” the choice for pier customers. Mrs Sullivan is now seeking a further meeting with Vale Council officials this week.
Nicola’s Juice Bar has the highest possible Food Standards Agency Hygiene Rating and a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence…and that list of petition signatures is continuing to grow .