Hanley's Chilli Jacks takeaway to open longer
A TAKEAWAY owner has successfully challenged a council decision to stop him opening during the early hours.
Shazad Yaqoob was forced to close his new shop, Chilli Jacks in Hanley, at 11pm after Stoke-on-Trent City Council refused his application for a premises licence.
The 33-year-old has won a partial victory following an appeal, which saw magistrates grant permission for the Trinity Street premises to open until 2am.
But Mr Yaqoob still wants to open until 5am – the closing time he originally applied for – to capitalise on trade from nearby nightclubs open until 4am.
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Staffordshire Police has always objected to Mr Yaqoob's plans, saying late-night takeaways lead to trouble because they stop drunken revellers from leaving the city centre after a night out.
During an appeal hearing at Stafford Magistrates' Court yesterday, Chief Inspector Jeff Moore said he believed letting the takeaway open until 5am would contribute to violent crime in Hanley.
The policing commander for Stoke-on-Trent Central said: "We do get some issues inside takeaways, but they are not significant. But people will come out of there and remain in the street. The time they remain on the street, and the level of their intoxication, leads to an increase in confrontation.
"After 3am people are at their most intoxicated, and that is the time when officer resources are at their lowest."
Mr Yaqoob said before he took out a 15-year lease on the premises, the council's licensing department told him his proposed hours were unlikely to be problematic.
He has since spent £40,000 refurbishing the venue, and is currently working 14-hour days on his own to make any profit during the takeaway's permitted opening hours.
His sister Samina Yaqoob, who runs Meir News, said: "I've got belief in my brother and his experience. We are only asking to be allowed to open in line with other venues.
"We want to work in partnership with the authorities to get things right."
Speaking after the hearing Mr Yaqoob, who also runs a Chilli Jacks takeaway in Meir, said: "I'm not happy about it but it's better than nothing. It gives me the chance to prove I can open until 2am without there being any trouble. Hopefully in the future I will be able to apply to open later."