A POPULAR Italian street food stall - run by a Michelin star-trained chef - closed after a disagreement with Make It York (MIY).

The owners of A’Roma Pasta Bar say they were paying £800 a month for a pitch in Shambles Market opposite public toilets and next to a row of waste bins.

Robin George said he and his business partner, chef Alessandro Venturi, were uncomfortable with serving up food beside rubbish and toilets, so they asked market managers MIY for the licence.

But Robin said they were not shown the licence - so they took the “very difficult” decision to shut down their food van.

MIY declined to comment.

Speaking at a City of York Council meeting, Alessandro said: “We put in lots of effort to deliver top quality street food. Our reputation grew fast and we have a lot of public support.

“After 10 months of daily work, having always paid the rent, I sadly discovered that permanent food trading in Silver Street is not allowed.

“The pitch is not suitable for this purpose. It is unhygienic, unsafe and doesn’t match the health and safety criteria. I was shocked. We asked for clarification, which did not come, and after that we decided sadly to stop trading. In this chaotic picture - no licence and no safe environment - there is no longer an opportunity for us to trade in the market.”

He said the situation has left the pair jobless.

Robin told councillors: “We developed this business with our own savings.

“The smell [near the stall] was disgusting, all day, every day. Don’t get me wrong the public toilet is a great service for the city, but you start to dislike it when it’s in front of your trading unit.

“We experienced a serious loss of earnings, especially during the Christmas market when the quantity of rubbish was simply insane. We managed to go through an entire year only due to our passion and determination.” He said people used the toilets to take drugs and syringes were often spotted on the floor. He said the pair were led to believe they could be moved to a better location.

Sean Bullick, managing director of MIY, was not at the meeting - with a council officer taking responsibility for a communication mix up.

MIY is owned by the council and Charlie Croft, the council's assistant director of culture, said: “We absolutely require MIY to engage fully and constructively with the market traders at all times.”

He said there will be monthly meetings between traders and MIY for the next six months and added: “In the case of MIY there is a very comprehensive reporting regime to the council and a very transparent reporting regime. The council does set the policy for MIY.

“Should they reply to emails from traders? Absolutely they should, and a great deal more besides.

“There have been some gaps in staffing and some sickness absence that might account for some slipping of standards in that sense.”