Licences renewed for ice cream van operators across Warwickshire

Warwickshire residents are being encouraged to support their local ice cream vans at popular country parks this summer.

Licenses have been renewed for ice cream van operators county-wide by Warwickshire Property Management Ltd (WPM) on behalf of Warwickshire County Council.

This means that friendly faces will continue to operate in Warwickshire’s country parks for another year – with many occupying the same spots for more than a decade.

This year WPM Ltd has completed four new licences for ice cream vans across the county.

Alan Sullivan, who operates at Burton Dassett Hills Country Park, and David Smith, who operates The Ice Cream Centre at Ryton Pools Country Park, are two of the operators to have had their licenses renewed for the year.

Many ice cream van operators are family businesses and that is the case with Alan Sullivan. His father, now 86, previously ran the business and Alan, 64, has been supporting his father since the age of eight.

He has operated at Burton Dassett for more than 20 years.

Alan said: “It’s a great business to be in and a friendly one too. Over the years we have got to know a lot of people working at the park and visitors too. We try to keep the prices sensible to maintain that customer base.

“Over the years it hasn’t changed a whole lot, people skills are still the backbone of running an ice cream van.

“Our fingers are crossed for a good summer, but believe it or not you don’t want it to be baking hot as that isn’t good for sales. It’s been a mixed start with the weather but my philosophy is that it always balances out over the year.”

David Smith, managing director of The Ice Cream Centre, has been operating at Ryton Pools for 13 years and has renewed his licence for another year.

His van can be found by The Foothills play area. David has had an obsession with ice cream since he was seven-years-old in 1975.

David said: “I was one of those children that went to the ice cream van every day, even if I couldn’t buy it, I was fascinated by everything ice cream.

“Across all of our vans we have a pride before profit approach. We have a policy that all of our vehicles are no more than two years old, and are low or zero emission. This resulted in us investing £178,000 in new vans this year.

“We’re hoping for a dry, warm summer and the ideal temperature is 21 to 23 degrees, anything above that and sales start to dip dramatically.

“It’s a tough job. We work 20 hours a day, seven days a week, for eight months of the year.

“But I love working at Ryton Pools. It is a lovely place to be, the seasons bring new colours and new species. I have great relationships with my regular customers and we’re proud to be based at the park.”

WPM is part of Warwickshire Property & Development Group (WPDG), which manages lettings on hundreds of Warwickshire County Council-owned properties.

Mandeep Padan, Asset Manager at WPM, said: “We have some incredible country parks across Warwickshire and there is nothing better than enjoying an ice cream on a summer afternoon.

“We’re pleased to have been able to extend licences for ice cream operators across the county like David and Alan.”

Cllr Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Climate & Culture at Warwickshire County Council, added: “Supporting our ice cream vans goes beyond enjoying a tasty treat; it’s also about fostering community spirit and sustaining local businesses that bring joy to Warwickshire’s residents and visitors.

“We are delighted to see these family-centred, ethically-minded operations continue to thrive and contribute to the vibrant atmosphere of our parks. Businesses such as these play a vital role in making Warwickshire’s Country Parks places that can be enjoyed and supported by all, both now and for generations to follow.”