Feb 8 2013 by Craig Robertson, Kilmarnock Standard
Street traders have attacked new council rules which ban them from serving schoolkids.
One fast food van operator said they’d lost four fifths of their income after being told only to operate when children are in school.
An exclusion zone was implemented on January 1 which bans street traders selling hot food from within a 250 metre radius of a school.
According to the council, only traders “who do not sell hot food, such as burgers and chips, ice cream and/or confectionary” were originally allowed inside the exclusion zone.
That prompted a backlash from several operators who believe their livelihoods are now under threat.
And at a council meeting last month, changes were made which allowed some to trade within the exclusion zone with agreement that they won’t sell to school children.
One of those was Gillian Cree who runs a van on Kilmarnock’s Portland Road which is owned by Cameron Connell.
They’ve been allowed to stay at their pitch – inside the exclusion zone – across from Springhill Bowling Club as long as no sales are made to pupils.
She said: “Since all this started, we are down four-fifths on our income.
“We are talking hundreds of pounds a day.
“We can’t open early in the morning when the children are going to school which means we miss the passing traffic from people going to their work.
“We then have to close at lunchtime when the children are out.
“But it’s crazy because we are turning away workmen and the children are walking past us and going up to the town centre.”
The Standard spoke to Gillian at lunchtime on Tuesday when she was closed.
Youngsters from Grange Academy walked past her van and later returned eating greasy snacks from Greggs and Subway.
When the exclusion zone was put in place Gillian’s van moved around 50 yards further up Portland Road to stay outside it.
But that meant being outside the front of private houses which provoked several complaints to the council.
One resident, Sheila Cooper, said: “The van was outside my front window looking right in and invading my privacy.
“I understand they are making a living but we don’t want them there.”
Gillian said: “We didn’t want to be there either and ended up having to park a car outside the house just so our space was there. We don’t want to upset the residents so moved back to our original pitch but it means we are down on takings.”
Councillors heard objections to the exclusion zone at a meeting of the local government licensing panel on January 17.
One of those objecting was Gillian’s boss, Mr Connell. He told councillors: “With the exclusion zone currently set at 250 metre as the crow flies, I would like to draw your attention to the following point: from the Grange Academy main gate to the junction of Beach Avenue and Portland Road there is a walking distance of approximately 295 metres.
“From the junction of Beach Avenue with Portland Road to our current trading location there is an approximate distance of 85 metres.
“Added to this is the distance from the classroom to the school fates and back.
“Despite what you might have been told by some of the staff and teachers, we do not believe any of the current pupils of the Grange Academy are able to fly.
“As such any pupil wishing to visit us at lunch time must walk a round trip of almost 1km.”
He added: “We understand that the council are not seeking to put street traders out of business, sadly for us, losing our established pitch, which has taken us five years to build, would have just that affect.
“This would mean that five of our staff and myself will be deprived of a regular income from this business.”
Another Kilmarnock trader angry at the exclusion zone is Wayne Scott.
He operates from sites at Strawberrybank Road – in the vicinity of St Joseph’s Academy – and from Elmbank Drive near to Kilmarnock Academy.
Mr Scott has been told by officials to comply with the new regulations.
That’s along with others operating throughout town who have been told to comply with exclusion zone or agree not to sell to school children.