THE row over the town centre street traders will come to a head next week as Swindon Borough Council tries to obtain a court order against them.

Five stallholders have been summoned to attend Swindon County Court on Friday, August 20 as the council bids to get an injunction to prevent them from trading in their current locations in The Parade, Regent Street, Bridge Street and Canal Walk.

The controversy began in October last year when the council’s licensing committee announced it was to ban street traders as part of the town centre regeneration.

But in March this year several traders defied council demands to vacate their pitches as thousands of residents signed a petition in support of them.

It was revealed in the Adver in April that the owners of the former Bhs store in The Parade, Ignis Asset Management, had written to the council to ask they remove the traders before the start of any regeneration work.

A council spokesman said: “None of the traders who are in The Parade or in Regent Street has permission to be there and this has been the case for a number of months.

“We have written to them asking them to comply with the law, but we have now been given no choice but to apply for a court order, which will be considered on August 20.

“It is the court that has summonsed the traders to the hearing. If the council is granted the order, and the traders continue to occupy the sites, they will be in contempt of court.

“We would advise them to take legal advice about the possible consequences of this if they haven’t already done so.”

One of the traders who has been summoned, Pasquale Bretti, who runs Swindon’s Number One Street Cafe, in Edgeware Road, said: “They’re taking us to court for obstruction after we’ve been in that location for 10 years and 16 years in the town centre.

“I have got a licence which says it is valid until September this year. We’ve invested a lot of our money into the business and now we might lose it all. I just want it over with.”

Mr Bretti is also displaying the five stars the council awarded him on its Scores On The Doors food hygiene scheme.

All five of the summoned traders refused to move when the banning order came into force on March 31 this year.

Speaking at the time ice cream stall owner Mario Bretti told the Adver: “The council are the ones that put me here in the first place, and I have worked hard since to build a business. I have been in business for 35 years. I have a right to earn a living without being treated in this fashion, it’s not right.”