Thursday, 21 July 2011

Chip shop to open later despite police fears

A SOLIHULL chip shop and Chinese takeaway has been given permission to open to 4am despite police concerns it will increase booze fuelled violence.

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Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council gave permission for the Kings Fryer in Station Road to extend its opening by an hour on Thursdays to Saturdays and from 1.30am on Sundays.

West Midlands Police warned the move would lead to more violent incidents but the council said no evidence had been show of this but demanded it have doormen and CCTV.

The police said: “There are serious concerns that disturbance and disorder will escalate at the premises during the terminal hour of licensed premises closing within the town centre, thus contributing and extending a public nuisance.”

It said: “The premises are small and confined and any break-out of violence in the fast food environment creates substantial public danger.”

Such premises are a “flashpoint for alcohol fuelled disorder within the town centre” it said.

Opening later will prevent crowds dispersing and “increase confrontation opportunities” at the taxi rank, the force warned.

It said “substantial” police resources are “fully stretched” by 3pm and the change would “minimise the capacity to respond to incidents safely and effectively and to deal with alcohol fuelled disorder and to ensure public safety”.

The force said the premises are already subject to a street litter control notice and later opening would lead to more litter.

And the three St Alphege Conservative ward councillors Kate Wild, Stuart Davis and Joe Tildesley, opposed the move.

A letter from Cllr Wild said: “I am surprised that the owners of the Kings Fryer have submitted this application.

“They should know after many years of the poor reputation that their premises have as a ‘hotspot’ for violence and disorder.

“Rather than seeking to increase their hours I would prefer that they took a more public spirited approach and reduced their hours.”

She said it was a “magnet” for those who have been “drinking to excess” and queues would lead to fights.

Cllr Wild warned there is a point where police “cannot be stretched any further” and the extension would have “immediate consequences”.

There is “very clear evidence” that the premises had been “the catalyst for a whole series of violent incidents” including one man who was hospitalised and needed surgery.

She said: “We do not want to see any more injuries or worse on the streets of our town, to innocent victims who have to Solihull to enjoy an evening out.”

But a council report said the police and councillor Wild had produced no evidence to demonstrate a “history of crime and disorder”.

It said: “Although issues such as lack of policing resources are important in considering the success of the night time economy in an area, it is not necessarily an issue that should be dealt with under the Licensing Act 2003, as it is beyond the premises of the licence holder.”

Problems with excess boozing should be dealt with “at source” and not through the premises, it said. The street litter control notice would manage litter, it added.

The council’s Licensing Act Panel considered the prevention of crime and disorder, public
safety, prevention of crime and nuisance and protection of children from harm.

It said three accredited doormen must be on duty from 2am until 4.30am on Thursdays to Sundays and use digital CCTV and keep footage for 31 days

The bid was by Nasir Mahmood to vary its premises licence.

The premises will still close at midnight from Monday to Wednesday.

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