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