Ice cream man Gary Redfearn says he feels ‘let down’ by Kirklees Council after losing the tender to sell Dixons Milk Ices from his van in Beaumont Park.
Gary, 59, who has always worked closely with the Friends of Beaumont Park, said it was a “big shock” when he was told his tender had been beaten by a firm from Bradford.
News that Lockwood-based Dixons Milk Ices were going to be forced to quit the park was confirmed by Huddersfield Hub on Saturday. Petition launched to keep Dixons Milk Ices in Beaumont Park.
Gary, a self-employed ice cream man for 20 years, had operated from inside the park for eight years. Three years ago Kirklees Council launched a tender for the contract.
Gary told Huddersfield Hub there was an “unwritten law” among ice cream vendors that they kept to their own patch.
“That’s how it’s always been,” he said. “Kirklees never said there was anyone else interested. I put in over £1,000 and that’s not chicken feed. I believed I was doing the right thing at the right time.
“If the council had said there were other people interested from out of town I could have given a bit more. I just put in what I’ve paid for the last three years. Someone has deep pockets.”
Gary wasn’t in the van at Beaumont Park himself on Easter Sunday but there was a steady queue of families eager for a Dixons, an iconic Huddersfield brand which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
Dixons fan Ashleigh Warwick, 35, of Crosland Moor, bought a cornet for three-year-old Harry and said: “It’s a shame they are going to have to move. I was brought up with Dixons. It’s part of Huddersfield.”
An online petition calling on Kirklees Council to review the decision has had thousands of signatures and Gary said his customers were “really, really upset – furious.”
The tender contract lasts for two years but Gary has been invited to operate inside the park for special events run by the Friends of Beaumont Park and a percentage of his takings will be donated to help the group care for and maintain the beautiful surroundings.
Colne Valley Tory MP Jason McCartney has also offered Gary his support and tweeted: “We should be supporting local businesses as we come out of the pandemic.
“I’ve asked Kirklees Council bosses to think again – like many others I want to see locally made Dixons Milk Ices for sale in Beaumont Park.”
Kirklees Council has been asked to comment.