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Glendalough food sellers launch court action against ice-cream van 'parked in front of their business'

The case was adjourned to next week.

THE OPERATORS OF a business selling food and beverages to visitors to Glendalough have launched a High Court action after a rival allegedly parked a van directly in front of their premises, resulting in its closure.

Today James and Margaret Stakem, who operate a business from a facility that contains sheds and portacabins for food preparation in an outside seating area at the Upper Car Park at Glendalough, secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing Wicklow County Council or its licensees from operating within 10 metres of the Stakems’ premises.

The court also ordered the defendants or its licensees not to use waste disposal bins or any other equipment belonging to the Stakems at the Upper Car Park site.

In proceedings against Wicklow County Council, which owns the site from where the Stakems operate from, the couple claim the van was placed there by another company which was awarded a franchise to operate a food van at the site by the Council.

The interim injunction was granted on an ex parte basis, where only one side was represented in court, by Mr Justice Robert Haughton. The judge adjourned the case to later this week.

Seeking the injunction barrister Peter Shanley BL, for the Stakems, said his clients fear for the future of the business they have operated at the scenic Co Wicklow location for more than 30 years. Their business has been closed for some two weeks, and they continue to suffer loss and damage, counsel added.

Mr Shanley said his clients operated their business on the site under leases granted to them by the council. The Stakems had put in the sheds and facilities, including toilets, counsel said.

Last month the Stakems were unsuccessful in a tender to win a franchise from the local authority to operate an ice cream van at the car park, and were told to give up vacant possession of the site where they operated their business by 7 April.

Counsel said that given the length of time they have operated from the site, his clients then issued proceedings under the 1980 Landlord and Tenant Act seeking a declaration from the Circuit Court they are entitled to a new lease.

Their solicitor wrote to the council saying the couple are entitled to continue to remain in occupation and operate from the site until the matter is resolved.

Counsel said the council informed his clients earlier this month it was not renewing the couple’s casual trading licence because they did not have a lease.

The court heard that on 10 March a van, which is believed to be the property of a third party who were successful in the tendering business, parked directly in front of the Stakems’ business. This, the court heard, is unlawful.

Mr Shanley said the van is parked outside the designated casual trading area and it was the Stakems’ case that the third party were also using his clients’ waste disposal bins.

Counsel said his clients are being prejudiced by Wicklow County Council’s decision not to allow them to renew their lease on the site, and by the council’s refusal to allow the Stakems remain in occupation until the Circuit Court has determined the issue.

Counsel said the Stakems are also prejudiced by Wicklow County Council’s decision to issue the third party a casual licence that will only allow them to trade from the Stakems’ premises, and permitting the third party to occupy a position directly in front of his clients’ premises.

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Aodhan O Faolain