Licence Granted to Strand on the Green Ice Cream Trike

Approval given despite school head teachers' objections

Tricycle-based gelato salesman Marcele Detomaso
Tricycle-based gelato salesman Michele Detomaso

An ice cream man will be allowed to sell his goods outside a Chiswick despite the objections of two head teachers.

Michele Detomaso, 53, successfully applied for a licence to park his tricycle gelato stand outside Strand on the Green Infant and Junior Schools.

It was agreed by a Hounslow Council panel last Wednesday night (6 June ).

The head teachers of both schools wrote letters arguing sales of the frozen dessert had sparked repeated complaints from parents and undermined their efforts to get their pupils eating healthily.

They also argued the trike would clog the pedestrian-only approach road to the school gates and risk the spread of Covid.

But neither head teacher appeared at the panel to argue their case further and the panel granted Mr Detomaso’s six-month temporary licence to station the gelato bike more than 30 metres away from the gates.

The schools are situated metres from the Strand on the Green riverside path, which has been on Mr Detomaso’s gelato bike rounds since he began peddling in 2014.

Infant school head Vanessa Townsend and junior school head Ruth Woods both argued they had received “negative feedback” from parents about the bike for years.

Mr Detomaso’s presence outside the school “directly contradicts” the establishment’s efforts to “tackle obesity,” Mrs Townsend wrote.

“Every day at pick up they feel they have no choice but to walk past this street trader, and they feel pressured to buy.

“When they do not buy it causes unnecessary and potentially avoidable confrontation with their children, interrupting a ‘happy pick up’.”

Mr Detomaso, a Strand on the Green local whose three children were educated at the schools, told the panel he was applying for the licence as “peacekeeping” with the school, who had started a petition to “ban” him from waiting near their gates.

He disagreed that his gelato is unhealthy, saying, “The gelato is organic that I serve, no preservatives, no colourants, no animal gelatine, it’s authentic artisanal gelato.”

The ice cream man explained he usually cycles past the school on sunny days between late March and late September and would pause outside the school for fifteen minutes to sell gelato before moving on.

Children stop in “joy” when they see his tricycle, he added. The gelato trader added that the schools were “great” and claimed he knew the head teachers personally.

Josh Mellor - Local Democracy Reporter

July 9, 2021