Braunton caterer 'not local' enough for Ilfracombe's Verity celebrations

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By tinap | Monday, November 12, 2012, 14:49

A furious Facebook row has broken out after a Braunton mobile catering unit was hired for Verity's official opening on Ilfracombe pier this month.

The Lush Food Company was booked by Party on the Pier organisers, but when the decision was challenged on Ilfracombe Town Council's Facebook page complaints flooded in that the business should go to an Ilfracombe firm.

Last Friday, John Mackenzie asked Councillors to explain why a caterer outside of Ilfracombe had been booked for the event on November 23th. 

In his post, he said, "I thought that one of the reasons Verity was given permission to be placed on Ilfracombe pier was to enhance local trade? 

"You have asked the businesses of Ilfracombe to contribute towards the event. Please could you tell us who gave permission for a Barnstaple company to bring in mobile catering to take away trade from our own Ilfracombe businesses."

Almost immediately Mr Mackenzie's post attracted a flurry of posts, arguing both sides of the case, which quickly descended into a row about who should get the trade.

In its response, Ilfracombe Town Council said the Pary on the Pier was being organised by Ilfracombe businesses, residents, North Devon Councillors, as well as town councillors, at short notice and it was felt The Lush Burger Van was 'the best option to cater for the event due to its size and reputation'.

However, in a dramatic move, Jason Clark who runs the Lush Food Company was told today his services were longer needed for the event. He also posted on the Town Council's facebook page. 

Mr Clark said, "The Lush Food Company is a North Devon business. I was excited when asked to be part of this great event, not for one second did I think it would take business from the few quay outlets.

"I was under the impression that Ilfracombe wanted to be on the map and grow with the times, however, because of these small-minded people that don't see the bigger picture I've been cancelled.  I'm very sad to have been dropped as I thought we were North Devon not little, backward, old self-serving only areas.

Immediately, dozens of Facebook users leapt to Mr Clark's defence, with some declaring they would no longer attend the celebrations because of the way he had been treated.

Ilfracombe Town Council has had to intervene and remind people not to hurl personal insults. They have now declared the matter closed. Braunton is seven and half miles from Ilfracombe.

      

Comments

       
  • Profile image for jemma14

    You say "we are all entitled to our views and we are also allowed to question our Town Council" . This raises the question why did the Town Council remove their Forum and change this to a Town Council Facebook website. Some of us do not wish to join Facebook, however I expect the TC are regretting this decision now!

    By jemma14 at 16:24 on 14/11/12

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  • Profile image for Moto70

    The question was raised on Thursday not Friday, not particularly important granted but if you are going to 'report' on something let's try and get it right eh?

    Also the business in question lists its address as Barnstaple, again not really important given the context of the actual debate was about the existing businesses that already offer this service around the harbour area, but it is worth noting given that your writing seems to place a lot of emphasis on the Braunton angle. Ironically an apology was issued for saying the business came form Barnstaple which it would appear was actually correct after all.

    I think that in the keeping of neutral reporting then all sides should be properly addressed and not have the person doing the writing appearing to let her own views taint the final story that she decides to print.

    Here is the post that was placed in the Lush Burger's own thread which you have so carefully chosen to ignore but does offer a more balanced to the debate that was had than what you reported.

    "The reason this issue was raised was quite simple and nothing to do with narrow-mindedness or bigotry.

    Ilfracombe already has food establishments within a few seconds walk of the event, there is a business that already serves Hot Chocolate, Tea and Coffee on the Pier itself so the first question is that is a mobile catering van even needed? So with your need for tea, burgers or fine dining already being covered within 60 secs walk from Verity, would you be happy with somebody setting up stall outside your business for the only busy night in Nov and then going again? I think that the businesses that already trade there should be entitled to some loyalty from it's Council.

    The second question is that having decided that they may want outside catering brought in it wasn't offered to tender and a call was put in to just one person, again is this really fair on all the other businesses? Councils need to be transparent with their dealings and not be appearing to dish out 'jobs for the boys', at the end of the day this is a democracy and how this came about wasn't democratic.

    A third point is that this is taking place on the Pier and the Pier has been partly filled with the boats that have been moored for the winter, so just from a space point you have to ask that with the food and drink situation already catered for would this space be better utilised, maybe face-painting for the kids or some other activity that can capture the atmosphere of this event as well as you all believe a burger van can?

    The fourth, and most important issue, is that all that happened here was a question was asked and some people agreed, some disagreed and some trolled and tried to incite ill-feeling.

    How anybody can see a town asking how and why its elected Council does things the way it does can come across as bigoted or narrow-minded I think shows a blinkered view on their part but as it's been mentioned many times by just about everybody on here we all all entitled to our views and we are also allowed to question our Town Council.

    I am sure that the residents of Braunton, Barnstaple and surrounding areas all take some issue with they way their own Town Councils run certain things but from what I am aware we don't don our straw hats and pitchforks and go wading into those debates telling people to direct their anger at certain individuals."

    By Moto70 at 10:53 on 13/11/12

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