Lake food stand bid is rebuffed

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 09 May 2014 Updated: 09/05 11:34

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Buy photos » Ann Taylor and Andrew Willis hand in the petition. Picture by Marcus Mingins 1914030MMR

STOPPING people selling food at Arrow Valley Lake has been branded ‘against the interests’ of Redditch people.

Borough council bosses have this week been handed a petition urging them to review their position by a trader hoping to set-up business at the beauty spot.

Jonathan Creaton currently provides refreshments at the visitors’ centre after taking over the management of the site in 2010 and the council has turned down Ann Taylor’s request to run a refreshment stand at the opposite side of the lake.

But she has now collected more than 300 signatures, comments and Facebook likes from residents supporting her view more competition should be allowed to offer a wider choice to visitors.

Andrew Willis, who has been helping with the petition, told the Standard the lake was probably ‘our most valuable asset’ and there was a ‘lot of ill feeling’ about the centre being run privately.

He said after putting in a formal application, Miss Taylor had been advised to get public liability insurance which she had done, only to be told the council would not do anything to hurt the business interests of Mr Creaton.

“We questioned that as it seems anti-competitive. We had a phone call to say there was nothing they could do but they have never sent an e-mail or letter so I suspect there isn’t a proper reason for doing it. If that is the proper outcome and they put that in writing there is no problem.”

John Godwin, head of leisure and cultural services, said how the contractor decided to provide refreshments was ‘up to them’ as long as they met the requirement of the original specification.

“We can and will use our regular contract monitoring meetings to raise any concerns that have been brought to our attention.

“Meanwhile if anyone makes a written request to trade there, then we will answer in writing as we do with all such requests.”

A spokesman for Worcestershire Regulatory Service added: “We have advised the customer that to be able to apply for a street trading license at Arrow Valley Lake they would first need the permission of the landowner.”

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