South Ribble ice cream crisis averted

South Ribble Council has avoided a meltdown over a potential summer ice cream shortage in one of the borough’s main parks.

By Paul Faulkner
Friday, 22nd March 2019, 4:46 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 5:53 pm
Visitors could soon be able to buy ice cream in five of South Ribble's parks
Visitors could soon be able to buy ice cream in five of South Ribble's parks

The contract to sell ice cream - and other snacks and refreshments - from the kiosk at Warden Park in Leyland is due to expire at the end of the month.

With the authority’s cabinet not due to meet again until June, after the local elections, the process to finalise a new ice cream seller could have been frozen until the height of summer.

But members gave last-minute authorisation for the contract to be advertised after hearing that there had been “a delay” in arranging a new tender.

However, a report presented to the meeting revealed there was still a risk of the authority losing out on lolly from the sale of lollies.

Any new contract will not commence until 1st May, meaning the current vendor has been asked to continue providing the cornets until then - including over the potentially lucrative Easter period.

As part of the new arrangement, the contract-holder will also be able to trade from vans in four other locations: Priory Park, Hurst Grange Park and Pear Tree Park, all in Penwortham, and Brickcroft Nature Reserve in Longton.

A van will also continue to be permitted in Worden Park, will additional vehicles allowed during major events.

Members were told that ice cream sales enhance “the appeal” of South Ribble’s parks and contribute to the cost of their upkeep.

And to top it all, there was even an cross-party consensus over the need to be better prepared when contracts are about to run cold.

Deputy Labour opposition leader, Mick Titherington, said: “Somebody, somewhere should have known this was coming up - it should have been re-advertised long before now.”

Conservative council leader, Margaret Smith, agreed.

“I’ve put a marker down on this one - we don’t want any more of these [urgent decisions]. It’s right and proper that we have them in due time,” she said.

The new contract-holder will be keeping park-goers cool until 2022.