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
COMMITTEE ROOM 2, COUNCIL OFFICES, WOODGREEN, WITNEY
They may even let members of the public address the meeting.