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On Tuesday, West Oxfordshire District Council gave Hasan Salik permission to stay open in Market Square until 3am at weekends providing he and business partner Zeynel Caner take measures to reduce the noise of their mobile generator. It was previously allowed to open until 1am. In a letter to the council, resident Mary Whitehead wrote: "It is disgraceful such a van should have been given permission in the first place to park in the lower Market Square. It is smelly, creates dirt and waste and allows gangs to make life uncomfortable for other pedestrians." Roger Backhaus of Market Square claims noise from the van's generator and rowdy customers keep him and his wife awake at night. He said: "I just hope the atmosphere we enjoy living in the town centre won't be too adversely affected if there's a greater move to a late-night culture." Peter Shirley of West Street added: "The owners clean up litter by the van but I'm often waking up to find kebab wrappers dumped in my garden as people eat on their way home."

Inspector Nick Deacon said the police had concerns about violence and drinkers spilling out on to the roads while they were waiting for fast food. He said: "This 3am licence will change the dynamic of Chipping Norton's nightlife and the police will have to act accordingly."  But police withdrew their objection to the licence because of a lack of evidence the van was directly responsible for problems. Mr Salik said: "A lot of people come to my kebab van, we're always busy and when we close at one many people complain."

His plan to extend opening hours of the kebab van have been backed by some residents. Mandy Clark, a friend of the owners, collected 316 signatures from people who supported the van in the town. She said: "It has customers throughout the evening and with pubs now opening until 1am there's bound to be a market." Customer Susan Shepherd said: "There would be hell to pay if anything happened to this van. It's the best grub in Chippy!"


From the report of the hearing.....

The Council�s licensing officer presented her report outlining the application. She indicated that objections had been raised by the Chipping Norton Town Council and members of the public. The Thames Valley Police had withdrawn their objections to the application and no further representations had been received from responsible authorities.

Mr Backhaus then addressed the meeting. He explained that his property was situated between the Somerfield store and the National Westminster Bank and that he therefore considered himself to be fully conversant with the implications of the extension of hours sought. He advised that deliveries to the Somerfield store commenced at 05.00 (having been changed from 04.00 at his request) and that an extension in the operating hours of the kebab van to 03.00 would result in only a short undisturbed period during the night. Dr Brooks asked Mr Backhaus to elaborate on the nature of the nuisance experienced. Mr Backhaus advised that in the early evening the operation was quiet but that when customers left public houses at closing time there was a tendency for them to gather at and around the vehicle with noise becoming noticeable as a result. Further, if the vehicle was not at its designated site, noise could be heard from the generator.

Ms Clark, representing the applicants then addressed the meeting. She advised that the extended hours were sought to meet demand from those leaving licensed premises at 01.00. She stated that the business had operated for 13 to 15 years and the applicants had no wish to upset or inconvenience local residents. If permitted, the applicants would operate sensibly and would not wish to see rowdy or raucous behaviour or any form of anti social activity which would be potentially detrimental to the long term viability of their business. Ms Clark advised that the van was situated within the designated trading area in such a way so as to prevent customers straying onto the highway during busy periods. She also confirmed that the business did not sell alcohol and had no plans to do so, pointing out that it appeared that a number of the concerns raised related to excessive drinking. In response to a question from Mr Hudspeth, the applicants confirmed that there were two staff supervising the operation at all times and that they could call for assistance from the police in the event of any disturbance. Ms Clark advised that the applicants maintained a good working relationship with the local police and took measures to ensure their customers behaviour did not get out of hand. She also suggested that the provision of food could help redress the effect of excessive drinking. In response to a question from Mr Backhaus delivered through the Chairman, Ms Clark reiterated that the applicants wished to extend their current hours to meet demand from those leaving licensed premises at the close of business. In response to a question from Mr Handley, the applicants confirmed that they were concerned that potential customers could become more rowdy if they were required by the terms of their licence to close and refuse service at the time that people were leaving licensed premises expecting food to be available. By managing the respective closing times this difficulty could be minimised. Dr Brooks enquired how peak sales periods related to the closing of licensed premises. The applicants advised that there did not tend to be an immediate rush as regular clients knew their hours of operation. Ms Clark advised that a petition of 316 signatures had been collected from customers since 9th June. 


Town is up in arms
over 3am kebabs

tter lunacy to allow this application" - Councillor John Hannis

CHIPPING Norton residents are up in arms over an application to allow a kebab van to sit in the Market Place until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights. And a letter of objection from a local councillor will be on the table when members of West Oxfordshire District Council meet to make a decision on Monday.

Cllr John Hannis, (pictured left) who opposed the granting of a 3am licence under the terms of the new Licensing Act 2003, which comes into effect later this month, has asked for his objections to be put before the meeting.

Zeynel Caner and Hasan Basri Salik have been trading from Caners Kebab van in the Market Place car park since street trading controls were introduced in 1998. Their current trading hours mean they have to close at midnight from Sunday to Thursday and 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. They were granted a new premises license until 3am at weekends under the Licensing Act 2003 in September and are now seeking to extend their street trading licence to cover the same hours.

Cllr Hannis is strongly opposed to the idea. He said: "London and larger cities need all night catering but this is Chipping Norton, an old Cotswold town where it will be utter lunacy to allow this application. "Many people I've spoken to are extremely concerned the food facility being open until 3am on Fridays and Saturday nights will increase the noise and yobbish behaviour we already have after the 1am closing of this van."

Manager of the Fox Hotel John Priest said the kebab van's trading did not affect him directly but knew many residents were concerned about people congregating in one area after pub closing hours. Market Place resident Roger Backhouse said he had been affected by the noise outside the kebab van on a number of occasions. He said: "I just think that 3am is too late and it's a shame for a relatively small market town we're nudging towards 24 hour trading." District councillor for Chipping Norton Michael Howes,(pictured right) of Market Street, also felt the application was inappropriate for the town.

But Mr Caner hopes to have the street trading licence varied to reflect the same hours as granted under the Licensing Act 2003. He said he had many happy customers and would only trade to 3am on occasions where there were customers present. In a letter to the council, Mr Caner said: "We're always conscious of the safety of members of the public, of our customer base and members of the public." He added they had good relations with business premises, ensured the Market Place was litter-free and had paid for a new electricity supply to curtail the noise nuisance from the generator. A decision will be made by the miscellaneous licensing sub-committee on Monday.

If you agree with John Hannis and Mike Howes send an e-mail to the Chairman of the Licensing Committee Ian Hudspeth and let him know what you think.

First e-mail exchange reported:
From John Hobbs to Ian Hudspeth
Dear Mr Hudspeth
It is an absurdity to grant a 3AM licence to these traders. One of the few  blemishes in life in this excellent town is the yobbish behaviour,  referred to by John Hannis, and the consequent frequent acts of petty, and not so petty, vandalism. This is not recorded in Police crime statistics. The present trading hours for the kebab stall are more than adequate.

Dear Mr Hobbs
Thank you for your email. I can not prejudge a panel decision and therefore I'm unable to comment on individual cases.
Thank you   Ian Hudspeth

followed up by a more conciliatory message the next day.........

Dear Mr Hobbs
I can assure that I did read your email and note your comments however due to my position as chairman I have to remain neutral before the meeting 

All the best Ian Hudspeth

The committee meeting is in Witney at 10am on Monday 14th November

They may even let members of the public address the meeting.



This is all to provide an electricity supply to  the Kebab Van!
Would you believe that  WODC have finally flipped.

A local correspondent writes......

People have been asking what all that digging up in front of Somerfield is. Is it right that it is to provide electricity for the kebab van Do you know if he pays full business rates and how on earth he got permission to get the electricity set up. He certainly got things moving fast compared to how WODC have moved on the visitor centre etc. There seems to be a bit of grumbling around town about this



The Police have just carried out a survey asking which things most adversely affect the quality of life in Chippy. Top of the list is "Youths hanging about". Over to the Neighbourhood Action Group. No action so far. The Appraisal highlighted "Nothing for young people to do" as one of the key problems in town. Over to the Town Partnership.  No action so far. The Police have been lobbying for several years for CCTV in the town centre. Over to the Town Council. No action so far. Residents are deeply apprehensive about  how new licensing laws will operate. Previous requirements for doormen, CCTV, noise and entrance restrictions attached to late night opening seem to have gone by the board. Opening to the early hours is central government policy - we are told to wait and see what happens.
To throw petrol on all of these flames is an application for the Kebab Van to stay open until 3am on Friday and Saturday. There is intense resistance to this. Nobody can see why its necessary. All three District Councillors have spoken out against the plan. The Town Council have expressed the strongest opposition. The van sells food in the open air alongside a busy main road in an Air Quality Management Zone which is the most heavily polluted place in West Oxfordshire and where Nitrogen Dioxide levels are way over government guidelines. Have Health and Safety experts  been consulted. Is this the place for a Kebab Van at all There is a resident on the Market Square whose bedroom windows overlook the noisy scene. Just opposite in the White Hart Development they are trying (unsuccessfully) to sell  flats whose main view at nights will be the crowd around the kebab van. If the Licensing Committee want a petition they can have one next week with a thousand signatures. They only have to ask - but some of us have got cynical about petitions which simply get ignored as agencies, trusts and committees just do what they want anyway.  To add insult to injury the lower Market Square is being dug up to provide electricity for the Kebab Van. Electricity to power the ONLY illuminated sign in the Town Conservation Area!! Madness! And by the way - local traders want to know - does this guy pay full business rates And if not why not Where has local democracy gone in all of this
And now some elected local politicians say they can't express opinions because council committees on which they serve must act as wise-as-Solomon licensing authorities - fair to everyone and  above local pressure. We elected District Councillors to represent our interests not act as bureaucrats. That's what officers are for. (This is all pretty rich considering the District Council has already got itself in a twist. They are the Kebab Van's landlord and collect the rent - which presumably goes up with extended hours. Work out the conflict of interest in that one!)
So how is local opinion going to get expressed We can surely expect that all three of our District Councillors - Hannis, Howes and Coles - will attend that Licensing Committee on Monday morning and demand to be heard. (If you know one of them please ring them and check!) John Hannis may actually be sitting on the committee that day - although its difficult to see how given the public comments he has already made. We expect them to  report the strength of feeling in the town in the clearest possible terms. At least we will then know who to hold accountable when the troubles start. I'm told the Chairman of the meting will be Mary Neale - who also just also happens to be the District Council's nominated representative on the Chipping Norton Town Partnership. We have called Mary Neale some unkind names in the past - particularly when she was trying to close the Pool. But  I appeared before her when the Kings Arms were wanting to extend their licence to the early hours and she found a skilful way through that standoff between the pub and local residents which worked out well. Lets hope for some similarly deft footwork from her on the Kebab Van problem 
A friend of mine on a national daily said that he thought it would be a great story if as the Leadership Election deadline approached and the candidates were debating deep political philosophy, one of the candidates' home towns was up in arms over a Kebab Van. A sit down protest would almost certainly guarantee front page coverage. Sounds like a plan!



This licensing sub-committee meeting was supposed to be a formality. The Kebab Van had already been granted a Friday/Saturday extension until 3am under the new Licensing Act. They now needed to get their Street Traders Licence adjusted to cover the same hours.  The town had taken some time to catch up with the whole drawn out and confusing licensing process but were now determined to take this eleventh hour opportunity to register a protest that they didn't want late night mayhem in the Market Square. You have to feel sorry for Licensing Committees. On the one side there are the old codgers forecasting that the world will end on the same evening that the Kebab Van stays open until the early hours - on the other side young hard-working entrepreneurs who have built up a successful business by giving their customers what they want. The Kebab Men had even bought along a petition from those happy customers  demanding that the van should stay open later on a Friday and Saturday along with the pubs. According to a  councillor on the panel who examined the petition one enthusiastic supporter from Walterbushe Road had signed it five times. And it was even international - one M Mouse from Disneyland had signed. There was also the signature of someone called Becky from Sex Lane, Chipping Norton. The Kebab Men's representative pressed their case. They had always been completely responsible - there had been no complaints. They had paid for the installation of electricity to avoid the noise of using a generator. They cleaned up the litter around the van and left the area spotless. They had been in the town for thirteen years - they were now well-established members of the local community themselves. Their solicitor made it clear that her clients couldn't be held responsible for the misbehaviour of loutish customers. A very fair point I thought. (By implication the blame for that was down to our British social system which had made such a lousy job of educating them). Our friendly local bobby Simon then appeared and said that the Kebab Van had not been the scene of trouble in the past. However crowds of kids on a pavement next to a busy main road was an "accident waiting to happen". So the Police wanted the van turned round to face away from the road please. This  led to a long debate of an incredibly arcane nature about whether it would actually be possible to park the van  the other way round - since the space for manoeuvring is so limited. Councillor Derek Millard fortunately turned out to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of all the obstacles in our Market Square. He frequently comes to town on a Saturday afternoon. The consensus seemed to be that parking spaces would be lost if the van was turned round and the pitch might have to be moved.....so that probably wasn't on. The Chippy Gang of Three then took the witness stand. District Councillors Howes and Coles - with Town Councillor Alcock tagging along. All of them really had a go - emphasising the strong hostility that existed among town centre residents towards this application  and underlining the sense of apprehension that existed about the noise and disruption that could result. Mike Howes tabled a powerful paper which contained a number of new arguments. For example he stressed the Fair Trading aspects of the case. An annual licence costs �1691. With the new hours that works out at under �1 an hour. How was this fair to other takeaway operators in the town He mentioned the prominent position of the van. Recently a site for new loos in the square and an ugly shop sign had been turned down by the Planners as being inappropriate to the Conservation Area. Where was the consistency in this. Allowing a van with a huge illuminated sign paying  knockdown rates but rejecting Johnsons shop front Eve Coles stressed concerns about noise. She emphasised that this problem would now be extended into the middle of the night and she was concerned that we were encouraging groups of young people to hang around in the town centre when it would be better to persuade them to go home! Kebab Service might end at 3am but people would linger longer. Eve has of course been the town expert on the HGV problem and air quality for many years and she seriously questioned whether the sale of cooked food in the open air in a highly polluted area (the most polluted place in West Oxfordshire) should be allowed. Apart from anything else it wasn't a very pleasant place to be eating food - right next to an HGV belching out fumes. Councillor Alcock said that granting late licences to pubs was one thing - where you could introduce curbs on noise and entry times and require CCTV and doormen - but 3am out in the open was altogether different. This was a question of District Council Policy for Street Trading.  Did they actually want the lovely old market squares in West Oxfordshire to be turned over to garishly lit fast food stalls until the early hours. They would not be able to blame this on the government. People would know where the policy came from!! It seemed clear that the Chippy Delegation had landed a few decent punches.  But the Licensing Committee had got itself in a bit of a fix by having already agreed earlier in the year to a late-night premises licence for the Kebab Van so they weren't about to be totally inconsistent.  Recognising that peoples fears were genuine what might happen was speculative. There was no doubt that people wanted late-night kebabs but they were going to have to behave to get them. The Chairman Mary Neale delivered one of her Solomon-like judgements. A six-month trial followed by a review. Your correspondent thought that was pretty fair all round. The protesters will have to show real evidence of noise or disruptive behaviour. So Town Centre residents need to get a diary started and have the Police and Environmental Health numbers by the phone. The snackers will have to show some restraint and consideration if they want to keep kebabs on their late-night menu. The Kebab Men and the Town Youth mustn't take this personally. Us old-timers like kebabs as much as you. Its just that we probably need a good nights sleep more than you do.

THE owners of a Chipping Norton kebab van have been given permission to trade until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights. Owners Zeynel Caner and Hasan Basri Salik, who had met strong opposition over the extended opening hours, will now undergo a trial period of six months in the Market Place car park. Residents and local councillors had opposed the 3am licence under the terms of the new Licensing Act 2003, which comes into effect later this month. They asked for their views to be considered when West Oxfordshire District Council considered extending the street licence to cover the same hours on Monday.

After much consideration the application was granted and it was decided that the trading hours would be reviewed next year. District councillor Eve Coles, who spoke at the meeting, was also against the proposal but felt the fairest decision had been made. She said: "I think it was the fairest way in the end. I was a little concerned about people hanging around until the early hours and the noise levels as many of the older buildings do not have double glazing. However, the new electricity supply instead of the generator should curtail some of the noise. "I think it was the most sensible solution in the end but residents with any complaints should still log complaints, and the date it happened. These will be looked at."