The contract to operate two ice cream kiosks on Swanage’s Main Beach has been terminated after the tenants broke the terms of the agreement with Swanage Town Council.
In a dispute which dates back several years, Swanage Town Council and the Bournemouth-based family run business ended up in court over the renewal of the lease, after the ice cream kiosk operators failed to pay the full amount of what it owed, running into thousands of pounds.
The kiosks on the beach next to Shore Road remain padlocked and are expected to be removed by the Bournemouth-based business that owns the wooden huts
Broken terms of its lease
The contract between the council and the business owners, who the council is not naming, was agreed many years ago by a previously elected council. The lease allowed the business to sell ice cream from two kiosks on the Main Beach owned by Swanage Town Council, in return for payment.
After a number of failed attempts to collect the full amount of money owed, Swanage Town Council ended up in court with its tenants. Although the case did not eventually go to trial and no judgement was formally made, following the serving of two court orders, the lease ended and was not renewed.
The business owners continued to trade, although they were unable to use the kiosk towards the north end of the bay, because the electricity supply, essential for keeping the ice cream from melting, was disconnected due to legal reasons.
The kiosk to the north end of the beach has been closed since 2021 because the electricty supply was disconnected due to legal reasons
“Subject of a county court case”
Following an extra council meeting on Monday 17th July 2023, Swanage Town Council issued a statement saying that the ice cream business owners, now legally referred to as occupiers rather than tenants, had now stopped trading:
“Swanage Town Council can confirm that the two ice cream kiosks on Swanage Main Beach have now ceased trading.
“The northern kiosk has not operated since 2021 and it has now become necessary for the kiosk near The Mowlem to close. The kiosks belong to the occupier and they will be removed from the beach in due course.
“The occupation of the kiosks has been the subject of a county court case over the last two years, which has now been resolved, but out of respect for the long-standing occupier of the kiosks the council will not be commenting further on the circumstances of the case at the current time.”
The kiosk near The Mowlem has now ceased to trade
“Proved impossible to reach agreement”
Mindful that closing the ice cream kiosk near to The Mowlem in July 2023 would mean a reduction in facilities for tourists at the beginning of the summer holidays, the council explored an option with the business owners to continue trading as occupiers.
However it’s now been confirmed that those further discussions weren’t successful.
Swanage Town Council added:
“Every effort has been made to explore whether the kiosks could continue to operate until September 2023, but unfortunately it has proved impossible to reach agreement.”
There’s still plenty of places in Swanage to buy ice cream including opposite one of the closed kiosks
Swanage Town Council’s lengthy legal battle was with the Bournemouth-based business and not Marshfield Farm Ice Cream who was a supplier to the kiosk operator, along with other ice cream providers.
The income from businesses which operate from Swanage Town Council land or premises, goes towards funding facilities for local residents and visitors including the parks, playgrounds, the seafront and public toilets.