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Archive - Friday, 13 April 2012
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Kebab house rejection angers councillor
A CITY councillor last night hit out at colleagues who denied him permission to open his kebab house longer.
Saj Malik said fellow city councillors had sent out the message that the centre of Oxford was “closed for business” by refusing him later hours.
Mr Malik, who represents Cowley Marsh, applied to keep Bodrum Kebab House in Park End Street open for two hours longer, until 3am.
He said: “The message they have sent out is that the city centre is closed for business and units like mine will remain empty for longer.
“When I took it over the unit in Park End Street had been empty for more than a year.
“I am of course frustrated.”
Addressing councillors during Wednesday night’s meeting, Mr Malik said he had taken a risk opening the business during the current economic climate, adding that opening later would create jobs at the restaurant.
Mr Malik was given planning permission to open Bodrum in October 2011 and it can currently stay open until 1am.
But Thames Valley Police had strongly objected to the longer hours, and councillor Colin Cook said the committee had a duty to reject them.
He said: “We have heard from the police that there is a surge of people coming out of the clubs between 2am and 3am and we have heard that these people cause problems when they are hanging around and not dispersing.
“I have to say that the 69 assaults which took place on Park End Street in 2010/11 is way too high and we should be doing everything we can to stop these incidents.”
In their objection, police described the area as a “hotspot” for crime, violence and public disorder, adding that extending Bodrum’s opening hours could have a “detrimental effect on community safety”.
Lesley Nesbitt, crime prevention officer, said: “This venue would effectively create a ‘honey pot’ providing a location and premises within the built environment which encourages people to congregate and remain longer in an area than they otherwise do.”
Park End Street is in the Central Oxford Special Saturation Policy Area, which means new licences would normally be refused because of “exceptional problems” with crime and disorder.
Oxford Civic Society also objected, saying the application would “encourage noisy behaviour and increase disturbance to neighbours”.
Last year the city council’s licensing committee kicked out an application from Las Iguanas in Park End Street to extend its alcohol licensing hours by an hour and a half to 2.30am on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays.
But earlier this year Thirst, also in Park End Street, was given permission to remain open for a further half an hour until 2.30am on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.