‘Leave our ice cream man alone!’: Angry residents vent frustrations as Portsdown Hill trader frozen out of pitch after 40 years of business

ANGER and frustration has been vented by Portsmouth residents after news broke that a popular ice cream man has lost his pitch.

Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 12:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 1:17 pm

Graham Penrose has spent 40 years selling at The Viewpoint in Portsdown Hill., starting when he was just 23.

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Portsdown Hill ice cream man bids farewell after 40 years having lost pitch desp...
Graham Penrose has lost his pitch at Portsdown Hill. Picture: Habibur Rahman.

Mr Penrose offered to pay Portsmouth City Council, who are the renters, £350 a month more than what he is currently charged – but it was not enough.

Many have responded to the decision with great sadness and displeasure.

In a letter to The News, Julie Bulmer said: ‘This has been up to now a favourite spot for me and my family to enjoy ice cream and the view, come rain or shine.

‘I think Portsmouth Council have treated Graham in a very shoddy way.

Graham Penrose will still be trading at the site during the summer period. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘I think their decision to award the tender to another company, one that isn’t even ready, is very short sighted, whatever happened to loyalty to local businesses?

‘I shall be buying my ice cream elsewhere in future.’

Mr Penrose said he is more frustrated that the new trader is not set up from opening day than losing his patch.

He previously told The News: ‘I don’t care that they have given it to someone else, I just don’t like the fact they have said he is not up and running.’

Other residents reacted angrily to Mr Penrose’s departure on Facebook.

Steph Smith said: ‘I understand business is business, but greed is wrong, loyalty should stand and be given the respect it is due.

‘I wonder how the new vendor feels knowing this, and could they not have found their own land or business method, rather than taking it from another?

Karen Flux added: ‘This is so sad. I been going up the hill since I was young with my parents then friends and always loved chatting to him about how things have changed.

‘Leave our ice cream man alone.’

Nicola Potts said: ‘Thank you Graham for the joy you brought over the years. Very sad that he has to go.

‘Today everything seems to be about the price of everything instead of the value.’

‘Awful poor man after years of a fab service and fab ice cream and loyalty to the customers,’ Jeanette Southwood wrote, ‘Portsmouth council shame on you.’

Charlotte Sparey added: ‘How very sad. I've known him all my life being up the hill.

‘Sad that it comes down to money and a bid, rather than respecting and being loyal to a man who's been there over 40 years.’

‘So much for looking after local businesses and 40 years of loyalty,’ added Robert Charles.

Portsmouth City Council will be giving Mr Penrose the summer period to trade on site to ease the transition.

Chris Ward, director of finance & resources at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘We do all we can to work with and support local businesses but ultimately we have a responsibility to all residents, and an obligation in law, to make sure we get best value for money.

‘These sites generate income which is used to support the delivery of council services across the city.

‘Legally, and to ensure that all businesses have the same opportunities, we have to advertise these sites and evaluate all bids on a fair basis, on this occasion a new company made the best offer.’