ICE cream van operators who believed their decades-old livelihoods would have been pushed to the brink by plans to ban them from selling near schools have breathed a collective sigh of relief - after a deal was struck to relax restrictions.

Council-led changes to so-called street trading rules are set to come into force following a public consultation which saw the town’s contingent of ice cream sellers fight to battle a 400-metre no-go zone.

Following discussions, this was revised to 200 metres, but the Chronicle can reveal a 100-metre zone has been agreed and is set to be passed at next week’s ruling cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

One trader, Sue Cairns - who operates around Darfield and Thurnscoe - praised the Chronicle’s coverage when the story broke last month.

She said: “We’re all breathing a sigh of relief as what was initially planned would have killed our businesses.

“The 400-metre plan was unworkable, as was the 200-metre revision, but 100 metres is what we all wanted so we’re happy common sense has prevailed.

“We’ve had so much support - it’s been humbling - and that’s come from parents, children, schools, local councillors and the general public.

“The Chronicle’s coverage brought it on leaps and bounds as so many people were in the dark about what was being proposed.

“If it wasn’t for one of my customers telling me about it, even I wouldn’t have known - hopefully something positive will come from this and that’s better communication as that’s been my bugbear.”

Husband and wife duo Les and Sarah Green, who have collectively clocked up more than 50 years in the industry, thanked people for their support.

“The 100-metre plan is absolutely workable so we’re thrilled that we’re at this stage after so many worrying times - businesses would have been put in jeopardy if that distance doubled,” Sarah told the Chronicle.

“We’ve had a lot of support in the last month or so but this is excellent news - the Chronicle’s story really helped get the word out as to what our plight was.”

Council public health bosses claimed the changes were ‘necessary’ and said research revealed parents want to make healthier choices for the children but a report, released to the public on Monday, confirmed the 100-metre plan would be put forward to cabinet before it’s rubber-stamped by full council at a later date.

It said: “Street trading means the selling, exposing, or offering for sale of any article in a street.

“The term ’street’ includes any road, footway, or other area to which the public have access without payment.

“The draft street trading policy aimed to support economic growth within the borough by opening opportunities for small independent businesses and traders, stimulating a vibrant and diverse economy, and complementing permanent businesses.

“Mobile traders must move from position to position, remaining stationary for no longer than 20 minutes to attract customers and thereafter maintaining position only long enough to serve customers present.

“Mobile ice cream vans are defined as vehicles adapted for the sale of ice cream and only sell ice cream, cold soft drinks, cold sandwiches, confectionary, crisps and frozen lollipops.

“They must not stop within 100 metres of the main entrance to the school grounds, during the school day from an hour before and an hour after.”