The tinkle of ice cream van music is a sound everyone associates with summer – and it is set to ring out again on Blackpool beach after a decade-long absence.
Ice cream vans were banned from the beach between North and South piers by Blackpool Council as it prepared for extensive works on a new sea wall.
The council says the works have been ongoing on a stop-start basis since the mid 2000s. But it is now preparing to tender for bids for four new ice cream van pitches on the sands.
The successful bidders will pay the council for the right to set up on what will be one of the most lucrative places in Blackpool to sell ices. A council spokesman declined to reveal how much the money-spinning tender could rake in.
But he confirmed the aim was to get the vans in place in time for the start of the holiday season next Easter, with the contracts running until the end of October when they will be reviewed.
Coun Graham Cain, the council’s cabinet member for tourism, said the tender process would be held over the winter.
“Since the beginning of the sea wall works, it’s not been practical to have vans moving on and off the beach, as construction works have been going on.
“Eating ice cream on a hot summer’s day on the beach is bound to be big business, and all traders will be able to bid for the contract, which should provide another welcome boost to the successful company.”
The announcement comes after one trader questioned an image of a boy buying an ice cream from a van in the £1m Blackpool is Back TV advert, which was jointly funded by the council and Blackpool Tower owner Merlin.
Barbara Gallagher, who runs the Waverley Coffee Shop and Ice Cream Parlour, said the advert implied visitors could buy ice cream on the beach.
But while the boy is seen sitting on a deckchair, the council insisted the beach was not visible.