Hartlepool coffee wagon owner's 'disappointment' after Hartlepool Borough Council revokes her trading permit

A disappointed coffee wagon owner has vowed to carry on fighting after she “unexpectedly” had her trading permit removed.
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Businesswoman Sam Lee hopes visitors to the Headland and locals will continue supporting her while she appeals against Hartlepool Borough Council’s decision.

Sam, who is due to stand as an independent candidate for Hartlepool in the next General Election, started trading from her Headland Coffee Wagon on Headland Promenade two years ago.

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But late last year she moved around 200 yards from her designated spot near Fairy Cove Terrace towards the Elephant Rock event space after she was repeatedly lashed by waves.

Sam Lee pictured with son Billy after she opened the Headland Coffee Wagon in 2022.Sam Lee pictured with son Billy after she opened the Headland Coffee Wagon in 2022.
Sam Lee pictured with son Billy after she opened the Headland Coffee Wagon in 2022.

The ex-Hartlepool Mail sports writer said she engaged in “supportive” discussions with council officials about her situation and that a recent letter revoking her licence was a “surprise”.

Tony Hanson, the council’s executive director of development, neighbourhoods and regulatory services, said in the letter: “The act of trading at an unauthorised location within the town is a clear breach of the terms stipulated in your consent.”

Sam, who is occasionally helped at the wagon by son Billy, 10, said: “The position I was originally in was dangerous.

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"The prom was falling down and the waves were lashing over me and my customers at high tides.

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"I have moved to a safer spot, where my customers are happy, I am doing no harm and I am safe from the issues on the prom.

Sam, who finished third at the 2021 Parliamentary by-election, said she expected a tender to go out shortly for the very spot she now occupies.

She added: “All I want to do is serve my customers and earn a living.

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"I am taking nothing away from any other business and in fact I believe I am helping to attract more people to the Headland.

“I started a Headland Business Group last year and we meet monthly to support each other and encourage tourism to the area.

"I joined the parish council and am now chair and I am very proactive.”

Mr Hanson’s letter said that the authority had “no further option” due to “the continued non-compliance”.

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A council spokesperson added: “In accordance with our street trading consent conditions, Samantha Lee has 21 days to contact us and it would therefore be inappropriate for us to comment on this matter in the meantime.”