A POPULAR kebab van that has served a community for 32 years has been forced to close.

UPDATE: Atalay's Kebab Van has now been allowed to remain open

Atalay's Kebab Van in Thame says it was told to close by South Oxfordshire District Council officers last night because it did not have a 'street trading consent' certificate. 

The business, which won Kebab Van of the Year in 2017, has to apply for one, but while it does so, it must close for at least 28 days.

ALSO READ: Oxfordshire kebab van winners of top award

The Atalay team says it pays the council rent, signs a trading agreement with the council every five years, pays all taxes when necessary and pays South Oxfordshire District Council for a premises license every year.

It said on Facebook: "We respect the law by all means, but we need justice. From the beginning of our application we used professional solicitors and fought for 10 years of our life to get the license. We abided by the law at every point.

"We don't think we have been doing anything illegal. If we were, why haven't we been told this during the last 32 year.

"As a small business during the pandemic we have already suffered. We have tried our hardest to keep all our staff, we have just about managed to keep our business going after having to close for two months."

Thame resident Josh Vickers has set up an online petition in a bid to get the council to reconsider.

ALSO READ: KFC and kebab shop fined for breaking 10pm coronavirus curfew

It has gained almost 2,000 signatures so far today.

Residents say it is a 'disgrace' that this has happened to a small business that has been in the town for so long.

Philip Jardine said: "Absolute joke and disgrace of a decision I hope SODC come to their senses soon and an arrangement can be reached to allow this great business to continue trading unaffected."

Claire Walton said: "This is crazy. You bring people to Thame with your reputation and awards and this is disgusting how they are treating you."