Ice cream dealer feels that he has lost 50% of his turnover due to an error by the municipality | Local News | News | Kingston Nub News

An ice cream dealer next to Hampton Court Palace has said he has lost half his business overnight due to a council blunder over the hours he can work.

Richmond Council licensing officers agreed to allow Calogero Galletta to operate extra hours at a field on Hampton Court Way in 2019 after they became available, but were told four years later this was a ‘miscommunication’.

The municipality in 1996 granted separate street trading permits to three mobile ice companies to operate in the field at different times. Separate licenses were given to Giuseppe Smeraglia and Lorenzo Galletta, allowing them to trade alternately on one week each month, with the exception of one Sunday.

Carlo Marchese was granted a license to trade on the two remaining Sundays each month. Mr. Marchese’s license was later transferred to his daughter Carmela Cavallino after his and her brother’s deaths.

The council was asked to transfer Mr. Smeraglia’s license to Mr. Galletta’s son, Calogero, after he retired in 2019. Although this was refused, the council said the permit would not be advertised and Mr Galletta could use the field during these hours.

A new council report said that although licensing officers allowed this arrangement and the authority placed ‘no blame’ on Mr Galletta, he had ‘no legal right to acquire the site’ and that anyone could apply for it, which Ms Cavallino later did. .

The council advised Mr. Galletta and Ms. Cavallino that it should advertise the field at these times at her request, which they then both requested. The municipality’s licensing committee met on May 23 to discuss the applications.

Mr Galletta told the hearing that emails from the council in 2019, when he took over his father’s business, clearly stated that the license “would not be put out to tender” so he could work during Mr Smergalia’s opening hours to trade.

His family’s business has been operating at the location for 53 years.

Calogero Galletta Richmond Council licensing hearing (credit: Richmond Council).

Mr Galletta said: “My natural assumption was that I would continue as I am, and obviously here we are four years later and being told by the council that it is a mistake, and this is the process, that I accept, but of course I’m not happy about it, because overnight I lost 50 percent of my turnover, just because of what I personally think was a mistake on the part of the municipality…

“I wasn’t really told the full facts about how that license should have been issued.”

Lib Dem councilor Rob O’Carroll said the council understands that he has been “operating in good faith since 2019 and this is not your fault, that there was a miscommunication.”

Ms. Cavallino claimed that her father had previously said that if Mr. Smeraglia or Mr. Galletta were to resign, it would be “only fair that he then take over to make it easier and fairer on the days as well,” and that is true she asked for.

She said she is “passionate” about the field and that the family business has been there since 1960.

Carmela Cavellino (left) licensing hearing in Richmond (credit: Richmond Council).

Ms Cavallino added that she would like “the opportunity to get a share” of the license previously held by Mr Smeraglia, after realizing it was not in Mr Galletta’s name.

She told the committee: ‘I leave it to you to make this fair and I would like to continue my father’s legacy and the family business and expand, just as we are all trying to expand.’

The committee decided to split the hours equally between Mr. Galletta and Ms. Cavallino. This means that Mr. Galletta can operate in the field every week, except for the first two Sundays of each month and the six days in between, when Ms. Cavallino can operate there.

The committee said the decision was the “fairest division” of the empty license and removes “the need for a roster” between Mr. Galletta and Ms. Cavallino.