The owner of the Longton Exchange shopping centre in Staffordshire has withdrawn its claim for an injunction against a jacket potato van which has been trading outside the centre for more than three decades.
David Suddes, the owner of Sudd’s Spuds, has traded from the same location since 2000, having taken over the spot from a previous trader who had been there since 1986. He has held a street trading permit from Stoke-on-Trent City Council and traded without issues for two decades.
However, last August, solicitors for the owner of the shopping centre, Longton Exchange Ltd, wrote to Mr Suddes threatening him with legal action and giving him 14 days to move on. Among the allegations levelled against him was that his van was so “unsightly” that it reduced the value of the land and that the smell of his jacket potatoes was causing an actionable nuisance.
A claim for an injunction was subsequently issued against Mr Suddes at the end of 2019 in the County Court at Stoke on Trent.
Following a local outcry, more than 7,000 people signed a petition to Save Sudd’s Spuds and in a poll of readers of Stoke on Trent Live, 91% favoured allowing the van to remain in place.
However, less than a month before a trial scheduled for 26 October, Longton Exchange has backed down and formally discontinued its claim against Mr Suddes. No reasons were given for the change of mind.
Although forced to shut during the early months of lockdown, the van has been trading again successfully since July, allowing visitors to the town centre once again to enjoy “the best smell in Longton”.
Matt Lewin of Cornerstone Barristers’ Licensing Team was instructed by Mr Suddes on a direct access basis.