Takeaway boss to fight early closing
BUSINESSMAN Shazad Yaqoob will fight a decision to stop him opening his takeaway late at night after claiming the ruling could ruin him.
The 33-year-old must close his new shop, Chilli Jacks, at 11pm after Stoke-on-Trent City Council refused his application for a premises licence.
Shazad, who also has another branch of Chilli Jacks in Meir, has spent £40,000 refurbishing the Trinity Street outlet after signing a 15-year lease for the site.
Following the authority's licensing committee decision, Shazad, of Dresden, considered shelving plans to open the business but has since decided to run the takeaway under restricted hours.
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The father-of-three said: "We slowed down the refurbishment because of the decision. The budget has risen because of the work that we have had to carry out and so we can't delay on opening it any longer.
"I felt that no matter what I said to the council I wasn't going to convince them to let me have the licence.
"Not getting this licence could ruin me and a lifetime of work."
Shazad's application for a licence attracted opposition from Staffordshire Police who claimed an extra takeaway in Hanley would put a strain on their resources.
The businessman's original proposals asked for permission to open the takeaway until 5am.
Despite police advising the shop should open no later than 2am, the council threw the application out completely.
Without a premises license the takeaway must close at 11pm.
Shazad said: "You look at the amount of empty shops in Hanley and I have turned this one around but can't open it when I want to."
The takeaway is next door to Kebab Master and Subway, which are allowed to serve food until 5am and 4am respectively. Golden Palace – another Trinity Street fast-food outlet – can open until 5am.
Shazad's sister Samina Yaqoob, aged 28, who manages Meir News, said: "It is a family-run business and I am gobsmacked we didn't get the licence.
"We had agreed to 13 out of the 14 conditions the police put forward. The only one we didn't agree on is closing at 2am. We can't rely on passing trade as the roads are closed in the city centre at night. I don't see how the business can survive without the premises licence."
Shazad is hoping the reputation of the Chilli Jacks shop in Meir will help bring in trade to his new city centre branch.
He said: "I am also going to introduce piri-piri chicken to the menu."
A date for Shazad's appeal was due to be made at Stafford Magistrates Court today.
A spokesman for the city council said the authority was unable to comment on the appeal.
The takeaway will open on Monday, October 1. Opening hours will be 11.30am until 11pm daily. An introductory offer will see items reduced by 25 per cent until Thursday.