Ice cream van banned from street after chimes 'played excessively'

Lamarti's Ice Cream van

A complaint was made about the Lamarti's Ice Cream van - Credit: East Suffolk Council

An ice cream van has been banned from a street after an "anxious and upset" resident complained its chimes were "being played excessively".

East Suffolk Council's licensing sub-committee heard that Great Yarmouth-based Lamarti's Ice Cream had been operating without a street trading consent in some areas of East Suffolk.

One complainant in Ashfield Crescent, Lowestoft reported chimes played between 20 and 35 seconds at levels in excess of 80 decibels - about the same noise as heavy traffic, a loud restaurant or a power lawnmower - in June and July this year.

Government guidance says chimes should not last any longer than 12 seconds and be under 80 decibels.

The complainant said this made them feel "anxious and upset on a daily basis".

Omar Lamarti, son of the firm’s founder and licence holder Mohamed, denied chimes had been played excessively.

"They will go on for seven or eight seconds and stop automatically, and they are programmed to be 60 decibels from the manufacturer,” he said.

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However, Lowestoft and Southwold town councils also complained about trading in prohibited places, including North Denes car park and North Beach in Lowestoft, as well as North Parade in Southwold.

The Lamartis said the ice cream van had not operated in the North Parade car park in Southwold, but the driver had stopped there for a break.

The firm believed permission from Lowestoft Town Council to operate in North Denes car park was sufficient.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the licensing sub-committee allowed the firm to continue operating in East Suffolk - but imposed additional conditions on its licence.

They include keeping a written record of when and where the ice cream van is trading at any time, complying with the code of practice around use of chimes and curbing future visits to Ashfield Crescent.

Councillor Linda Coulam, chairwoman of the meeting, said: “The sub-committee noted that Mr Lamarti had been trading for a number of years having been prosecuted in 2006 for trading without consent, and therefore was of the view he should have been aware of the requirements to obtain consent and any conditions.”

However, she said the committee had recognised the chimes were only from one complainant and “considered it would be disproportionate to revoke Mr Lamarti’s consent”.

Any future breaches will be required to be heard by a sub-committee hearing.

A series of letters, phone calls and emails between the firm – which has operated for more than 40 years in Norfolk and north Suffolk – and East Suffolk Council’s licensing team ahead of the meeting had not resolved the issue.

Teresa Bailey, senior licensing officer, said the requirements on the firm’s street trading consent were “made clear on numerous occasions”.

The Lamarti family confirmed it has not operated at all in East Suffolk since August 2, when it was made aware of problems.

Mr Lamarti added that his father “hasn’t been able to sleep at night regarding this because it’s a very big lump of his turnover in Lowestoft".

He added: “This is the summer season where we work the most, and understand that Covid has made things very hard for us in the last year, causing unnecessary stress, and it could have been avoided.”

Mohamed Lamarti had been prosecuted in 2006 for trading without consent in the district.

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