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Gloucestershire Business News

THE SCOOP: Cheltenham ice cream business caught trading illegally

A Cheltenham icecream seller who wants to expand his empire has been called out for trading without a licence and bad behaviour outside schools.

Bambas Shaouna wants permission from the council to run four more vans across the county from noon to 7pm every day.

Council bosses are due to make a decision this week, but the entrepreneur has been caught already letting them operate outside local schools such as Lakeside, St Gregory's School and Rowenfield.

Originally from Cyprus, Mr Shaouna has lived in the town most of his life and set up Mr Whippy Cheltenham in 1995.

Over the last three decades he has built up his ice cream business and in 2010 brought on board business partner William Capstick who now runs most of the day to day operations.

They helped deliver groceries during the pandemic lockdown and have raised money for good causes such as Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.

Mr Shaouna had his five minutes of fame in 2018 when he appeared on Britain's Got Talent, getting the judges to throw plates at him, balancing glasses on his head and playing the bouzouki.

However, some people are not so amused by his antics.

In six years the council has recorded eight complaints against the street trader, according to a report by its enforcement officer.

They include several vehicles seen trading without a licence, parking too close to Lakeside School, St Gregory's School and Rowenfield School, obstructing a pavement, causing a noise nuisance, trading on private land without permission.

A complaint received on June 10 this year stated a van was seen parked opposite Lakeside Primary School on double yellow lines. It arrived just before the end of school and stayed for 45 minutes, with the engine running intermittently and chimes sounding occasionally.

A separate report shows Mr Capstick was called into the council offices in October 2023 and given a slap on the wrist over four complaints within a three months period.,

They related to his vans parking too close to school premises, being at a location for longer than permitted, sounding the chimes for longer than permitted and operating beyond 7pm.

Further complaints came to light this summer during the consultation period for the four new licences.

Environmental Protection said there had been two complaints which "demonstrates a lack of noise control" and a second an environmental health officer objected due to concerns about air quality.

The licensing enforcement team also said members of the public had caught three of the vans already operating, despite none of them having been granted street trading consent. They said this raised concerns that if the licences were granted Mr Shaouna may not run them within the rules.

Mr Capstick and Mr Shaouna said these incidents were due to "driver fault" and miscommunication about the status of the licence applications. They said all drivers had now been told not to use the four news vans until the applications were decided.

The council's licensing sub-committee is due to consider the application at a meeting on Thursday (July 11) where Mr Shaouna will have a chance to state his case.

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