Late-night revellers in Aldershot now have an extra fast food choice after a kebab shop was granted permission to extend its opening hours.
Rushmoor Kebab, in Victoria Road, can now remain open until 3.30am following Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights after members of Rushmoor Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee debated the pros and cons for more than an hour on August 14.
The shop is open until 1am on other nights.
The application was made by owner Hasan Karadal, who argued that, with nearby Yates's, newly-opened as Popworld, allowed to open until 3.30am since June, it would be unfair not to let him do the same. Aldershot Fried Chicken, opposite the shop, is licensed to open until 3am.
Mr Karadal’s application was made on May 23, after he received a letter saying police officers had observed customers still queuing inside the shop after the permitted opening hours on recent evenings. On one date a customer was still waiting for food at 3.07am. Mr Karadal said he was struggling to close on time because of the number of customers waiting for food, particularly since Yates’s was open later.
PC Iain Barnes, Hampshire Constabulary’s representative at the hearing, pointed out that Mr Karadal’s application had been made before Yates’s licence was extended.
“I would ask you to ignore his claims that it’s all because of Yates’s because all these incidents happened before that,” he said.
PC Barnes said when revellers getting fast food meant they were delayed going home arguments were more likely, causing added pressure on the police who were therefore unable to focus on the rest of the borough.
He not only requested that the application be refused but suggested that a door supervisor or a serving hatch be installed to ensure that no customers were inside the shop after hours, arguing Mr Karadal should be helped to stick to the current regulations as opposed to being granted an extension.
Mr Karadal said his was the only establishment with a toilet and that people would urinate on the door if this was unavailable.
“Why can I not close later?” he pleaded. “I don’t understand. I’ve been there six years and have never had a serious problem with customers. Sometimes I even close early.
“It is only the weekends when I make money to pay my rates. I’m not there to do something wrong, I’m there to help the public.”
Despite the mention of other premises, members were told they should treat the Rushmoor Kebab application on its own merits, and, after a long discussion, chairman Alan Ferrier concluded that the application should be granted.
“We accept the evidence from the police, however we did not hear any convincing evidence that problems were caused by this premises,” he said, adding that the members felt a door supervisor or serving hatch were inappropriate.
Mr Karadal was told that, as part of the decision, no customers should be allowed to enter the shop after 3.15am to ensure the doors could be shut on time. He assured members that he intended to close at 3am and be in bed by 3.30am.