Storm brewing over pop up food outlet

Traders in Abbeygate are frustrated by the pop-up shop which is using A-board, table and chairs and a giant ice-cream cone outside the shop despite not having the right street trading licence to do so. ''Pictured: Pauline Page, owner of Scandinavian Coffee House and Richard Bird, owner of Street Level
Traders in Abbeygate are frustrated by the pop-up shop which is using A-board, table and chairs and a giant ice-cream cone outside the shop despite not having the right street trading licence to do so. ''Pictured: Pauline Page, owner of Scandinavian Coffee House and Richard Bird, owner of Street Level
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A pop up shop aimed at revitalising an empty building in Bury St Edmunds has sparked a row over licensing.

Dolly Greens Pop Up Catering in the former Grid restaurant, in Abbeygate Street, does not yet have a licence to put tables and chairs or other objects outside its shop.

But managers Chris Jevons and wife Tanya have done so since opening last month, annoying neighbouring businesses.

They have been asked to remove them by St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

Pauline Page, owner of Scandinavian Coffee House, said: “If I did what they’re doing, the council would be round here like a tonne of bricks. If the rules are the rules, why aren’t they abiding by them?”

“It’s like building an extension and not getting planning permission when all your neighbours have,” she said.

Richard Bird, owner of Street Level Café, said the temporary shop represented unfair competition.

He added: “The whole operation looks really tacky. It’s more suited to one of those kiss-me-quick seaside resorts than Abbeygate Street in Bury.”

The ‘pop up’ business will only trade from its current location until the end of August but Mr Bird said that was plenty of time to ‘do a lot of damage’ to established businesses.

Mr Jevons, who has a licence application pending, said the Grid had held a licence for the premises and new licences were often granted retrospectively.

He said: “It’s not unusual for this to be done. We just think it’s a total joke. If they’re going to police me, they’ve got to police everyone.”

Of the other traders, he said: “I think they’re a miserable lot and they should grow up.”

A council spokeswoman said: “A street vending licence cannot be transferred or renewed and the previous licence expired in 2011. Until such time as the licence application has been determined, it is not lawful to place objects and structures on, in or over the highway, which is why the applicant has been asked to remove them.”

Suffolk County Council is responsible for removing the unlawful structures and says it will take enforcement action if a licence is not granted.