THEY all thought it was "Goodbye Mr Chips".

Joe Simpson with his diner truck

But York students are now hopeful that a friendly fast-food seller may be about to make a return.

Joe Simpson used to sell chips outside the Charles XII pub at Heslington for six years before the Bass brewery forced him to cease trading late last year.

But, earlier this week, the York University Students' Union voted unanimously to bring back Joe's chips.

He used to operate from his blue van in the car-park of the student pub, providing hungry drinkers with a late-night food option.

Joe says he presented £62 worth of chips every week to the pub in lieu of rent in an unofficial arrangement, but when Bass asked him to leave and approached an alternative supplier for their spuds, he handed them a bill for over £4,000 - 18 months worth of chips.

Bass has refused to pay and has threatened to charge him for rent for a similar period if he persists with his claim.

The Students' Union agreed at their fortnightly meeting to lobby both Joe and the Charles XII to bring back the service.

Joe said: "I am flattered they want me back. If the pub let me I would be happy to return, but I don't think that is going to happen.

"I used to love serving the students my chips, we never had any trouble. I made some good friends there and I want to go back to work for them."

Claire Ainsley, president of the Students' Union, said: "There is no late-night food option in the campus area since Joe's departure.

"As a result of this motion, it seems that the students want Joe back and we will be contacting both him and the Charles XII to try and bring back this service.

"If the Charles are not interested in bringing him back, then we will lobby the university themselves to provide a pitch for Joe to sell his food."

A spokesperson for Bass said: "The situation surrounding his departure arose due to complaints from local residents about noise and litter.

"As a response to this Bass withdrew permission for the chip van to be operated on company premises.

"If we are approached by the Students' Union we will happy to consider their requests and enter into discussions with them."

A spokesman for the City of York Council said: "We do not discuss individual cases, but if an operator wishes to sell food, then they will have to apply for a licence and will have to satisfy certain hygiene standards."

Tom Rowland, 21, a student from York University said: "Joe's chips were an institution. They were part and parcel of a good Friday night out at the Charles.

"I don't drink there as much anymore."

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