AN ICE-CREAM trader who pays more than £500 for a licence to put tables outside her café has hit out, after she was ordered to keep them indoors to avoid interfering with a neighbouring street festival.

Dawn Argyle, owner of the Luxury Ice Cream Company, in Back Swinegate, said she was approached by another nearby business and asked to contribute £240 towards a street licence for a one-day Latin festival tomorrow.

She said: “That would mean I was allowed to put my tables and chairs on the street that day. I’ve just paid £525 to the council for the year, to put three tables in the street. I didn’t think it was complementary for my business, and didn’t want to take part.

“The organiser told me I would not be able to put tables out because of their licence and now I’ve received an official letter from the council telling me I can’t do it.”

Dawn said it was impossible to tell how much the lack of outside seating could cost her.

“I’m absolutely baffled to be honest. City of York Council is supposed to encourage the night-time economy.”

Coun Janet Looker, the council’s cabinet member for communities and neighbourhood services, said she had sympathy for both parties.

Coun Looker said: “The festival is organised to make that area of Back Swinegate more festive and they get permission from the council to, in a sense, cut a separate bay where people chip in to contribute to the festival, and a lot of the local traders do come together.

“I think it is a difficult issue. I suspect the organisers of the festival have permission from the city centre management team to clear space for the event and it is a conflict.”