Cuneo Ice Creams: Historic Yorkshire ice cream seller could close after losing contracts

His ice cream vans have been a familiar site outside Sheffield parks for generations.

But Andrew Cuneo says he is being driven out of businesses after Sheffield Council gave his licence to operate at two major Sheffield sites to another operator, from April.

Andrew’s family has been operating in Sheffield since the 1860s, and his vans running at Weston Park and Endcliffe Park for many years. He has served Weston Park for 30 years. He had already lost the licence for the Botanical Gardens.

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He has now lost both licences. It leaves him only with a licence for Rustlings Road, near Endcliffe Park, and fears he will lose that in November, when it expires.

Andrew Cuneo, pictured in his new ice cream can, fears he will go out of business

In June 2021 he spent £100,000 on a new, modern ice cream van specially to serve Endcliffe Park, which also served hot drinks.

But now he fears for the future, and is worried about what will happen now with the patches operated by his wife and daughter, and blames the stress for a heart attack he suffered last year.

He said he now has no work or income himself, and has had to lay off two staff.

He said: “The parks and countryside have now given our three sites in Sheffield to another ice cream firm putting me, Andrew Cuneo, out of business.

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“How can this be right? This council is doing whatever they feel like and getting away with it.”

Andrew is unhappy Sheffield Council refused to put the matter to the licensing committee, which he felt was necessary for him to have a fair hearing.

He said he had been told that officials were happy with what his business was doing at the parks.

Andrew took the council to court 15 years ago over breach of contact when they previously tried to remove his van from outside Weston Park, shortly after the museum was refurbished. He won the case.

“I’ve got no sites – they’ve put me out of business,” he said. “I had doubled my offer for what I would pay, but it was not enough.”

There will still be Cuneos vans owned by his wife and daughter, who operate separately with the family name at different locations.

He is taking the matter to the local government ombudsman.

Councillor Alison Teal, executive member for wellbeing, parks and leisure at Sheffield City Council, said the authority was committed to making Sheffield’s parks the best they could be, and the businesses that trade within them played an important role in enhancing visitor experience, generating essential income and supporting our sustainability targets.

She said: “Several parks concessions were due for retender for the 2022-2025 period. As with all council commercial business, we have completed an open and fair tender process, which attracted submissions from many operators.

“Those who best met the tender criteria have been selected and we will see some existing businesses continue to operate in our parks, and some new businesses being introduced. We understand that this is very difficult for those who were unsuccessful but we can never guarantee renewal at the end of a contract, we have to conduct a process that is fair to all interested businesses.”