Brighton chip shop bidding to stay open later

A Brighton chip shop owner wants to stay open until 5am at weekends and 3am on weekdays.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 11:23 am

But Abbanoub Salama, who wants to offer takeaways and deliveries after midnight, faces opposition from Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove City Council.

Currently, Mr Salama has a late-night licence allowing his shop, Fish and Chips, in Preston Street, to serve food until midnight every night.

He can also serve alcohol until midnight every night except Sunday when he his licence requires him to stop serving at 11.30pm.

His application to vary the conditions of his licence is due to heard by a council licensing panel, made up of three councillors, on Thursday (April 22).

The police and council licensing chiefs said that Fish and Chips was in the council’s cumulative impact zone (CIZ) where a stricter licensing policy applied.

Inspector Rob Lovell sent a letter of objection on behalf of Chief Constable Jo Shiner although the letter is redacted in the agenda papers.

Inspector Lovell wrote: “Sussex Police have concerns granting an extension of hours due to the location of the premises and the close proximity to the main night time economy area.

“Preston Street experiences significant footfall from members of the public entering and leaving the central area of Brighton and is in an area saturated with licensed premises. Due to this the area already experiences anti-social behaviour.

“Sussex Police believe that an additional late-night refreshment premises open until 3am/5am would assist in keeping persons in the area longer and in turn increasing the risk of crime and disorder and public nuisance.

“Reviewing the ‘Public Health Framework’ report for assessing alcohol licensing, 2019 edition, Regency ward, of which this location is within, is ranked highest out of 21 wards for crime and disorder (excluding criminal damage of which is third) and the second highest for police-recorded alcohol-related incidents.

“Due to this the safe dispersal of people as quickly as possible is paramount in keeping incidents to a minimum and protecting persons within the locality.

“We note that this application is not to permit the sale of alcohol. However, the hours being applied for are highly likely to attract persons that have been consuming alcohol and the report evidences the issues we have within this area already.

“We have seen first-hand on many occasions how late-night takeaway food outlets within the night-time economy suffer from crime and often require police attendance.”

Mr Salama said: “I disagree with the statement ‘in an area saturated with licenced premises’ because the majority of the shops in the area close at around midnight and no alcohol is sold after that time.

“There is already some late-night trade in Preston Street, but it is not saturated.

“I disagree with the statement that there is ‘significant footfall’ in Preston Street because before the pandemic there were a significant number of restaurant that had to close down, which indicates that there is insufficient footfall to allow those restaurants to cover their expenses.

“Since Preston Street was made in a one-way direction (which was more than 15 years ago) there has been no footfall especially at night after 10pm (even in the weekends).

“You are more likely to see one person every two hours rather anything more.

“Preston Street is the most dead street in the town after 10pm and numerous shops were closing down there before covid-19.

“The number of anti-social behaviour in the last 12 months is significantly lower than the national average (according to UK crime stats) for Preston Street.

“There are very few people walking in Preston Street at night so I struggle to understand how can there be trouble.

“It is of my understanding from the owners of other takeaway outlets that operate at night in Preston Street that Sussex Police have only recorded less than two incidents in the last 20 years.”

Mr Salama submitted a letter of support to the council, with the writer’s details redacted.

The letter said: “There is some night-time trade going on in Preston Street and I feel that it would be unfair that the above premises would not be able to contribute to strengthening the night economy of this area.

“The pandemic has had a devastating impact across the UK, not just in this part of Brighton, and I do believe it is vital to encourage economic growth in the area by granting this extension of opening hours.”

The council licensing department objected because the takeaway was in the cumulative impact zone and Mr Salama had not “offered exceptional circumstances” to allow the council to depart from its policy.

The licensing panel is due to start at 10am on Thursday (April 22). The hearing should be webcast on the council website.