A Brighton takeaway owner hopes that a four-week trial will prove that staying open until 5am at weekends will not add to Brighton’s problems with crime and disorder.
Abbanoub Salama, who owns Fish and Chips, in Preston Street, Brighton, served four temporary event notices, also known as TENs, to put his plan into effect.
The notices said that he intended to trade until 5am on Friday and Saturday nights for four weeks, starting from Saturday 19 June.
But Sussex Police objected so Brighton and Hove City Council held a licensing panel hearing today (Wednesday 16 June) to decide whether to allow Mr Salama to trade so late – even temporarily.
Mr Salama’s solicitor, Nicholas Perkins, told the licensing panel that allowing the shop to open until 5am for four weekends would show that it was not adding to problems in the area.
Mr Salama had previously applied for a late licence to stay open until 3am during the week and 5am at weekends but his application was refused.
Sussex Police said that Preston Street was within an area “saturated” with licensed premises which had been designated a “cumulative impact zone”.
It was subject to tighter rules on licences for pubs, clubs and late-night takeaways aimed at reducing anti-social behaviour, noise and nuisance.
Sussex Police licensing officer Mark Thorogood told the panel of three councillors that it was rare for the force to oppose a temporary event notice.
They were, he said, often served by those organising small-scale community events or to allow an existing licensed business to extend its hours for a special occasion.
He said that the application went against the spirit of the council’s licensing policy which described TENs as suitable for “bona fide” community events rather than for businesses to extend their hours.
And he said that crime figures from 2019 – rather than last year which was affected by coronavirus-related restrictions – showed that police dealt with several violent crimes and drug-related incidents in Preston Street between 8pm and 4am.
He said: “With venues such as night clubs closed, and limited space inside other venues that are open, more and more people are staying out in public spaces including into the early hours.
“An area adjacent to Preston Street between the i360 and the Upside Down House is currently experiencing issues with noise in relation to groups of people congregating within the area into the early hours, drinking and playing music.”
Mr Thorogood said that the application was for a takeaway and would attract people to the beach and Bedford Square, causing increased litter.
This, he said was noticeable to people walking along the seafront in the morning where takeaway rubbish was piled up against bins.
But Mr Perkins said that it was not against the rules to apply for a temporary event notice to extend trading hours.
He said that the TENs were not intended to “get around” the takeaway’s failed attempt to extend its hours in April but to show that opening until 5am would not have an “adverse effect” on the area.
Mr Perkins said: “If there are problems then, of course, this goes no further.
“If, on the other hand, there is a satisfactory outcome, we can consider a new application to vary (the takeaway’s hours) with appropriate positive evidence which the panel would like to see.”
He added: “The terrible problems in this area are caused by alcohol, not fish and chips.”
Councillor Jackie O’Quinn said that people would take their fish and chips to the beach in the summer where people often slept on the beach.
She said: “You’re talking about providing evidence that the place is no problem. It is incredibly difficult but you’re adding to the problem
“How can you prove to us that the people on the beach who maybe had your fish and chips and are causing a disturbance … how can you prove it’s nothing to do with you.”
Councillor O’Quinn said that the panel looked at evidence about what happened in the area, not conjecture.
Mr Perkins said that the shop needed to be given the chance to show that it was not increasing the problem because he did not have a “crystal ball”.
The panel retired to make its decision which has not yet been made public.
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