A takeaway’s application to remain open until 4.30am six days a week – just months after having its late-night refreshment licence revoked – has been rejected by councillors.
The Cod Father in Ashford’s Lower High Street was punished by Ashford Borough Council back in January for hiring illegal workers from Afghanistan, and allowing members of staff to get involved in a street brawl.
Despite asking for the chip shop to remain open beyond 11pm for home deliveries only, applicant Khaista Ahmadzai asked licensing sub-committee members on Wednesday to permit walk-in customers too.
He said: “Without the licence, I can’t run the business.
"We used to make £1,500 to £2,000 at the weekend, but because of the news and everything that happened in the incident we only make £300 now.
“I can’t afford to run the business anymore. If I don’t get the licence, I won’t be able to run the shop anymore.”
Once Mr Ahmadzai was told the committee could only determine the application before them – submitted by his absent agent – he said he would adhere to the conditions of any licence granted.
'If I don’t get the licence, I won’t be able to run the shop anymore...' - Khaista Ahmadzai
But he could not convince members he had the right safety policies in place, having been unable to tell them the specific training employees had completed following the street fight incident which saw weapons wielded.
There were also questions about the checks carried out on new members of staff, during which Mr Ahmadzai admitted there were currently no written policies in place.
The Cod Father was fined £30,000 by the Home Office following last year’s immigration raid.
Cllr Larry Krause (Con) said: “The company has got in trouble once already with immigration. What I would suggest is having been through the mill once, you don’t want to do it twice – these guys don’t muck about.
“I would have thought you would have gone for some advice to make sure you’re never going to get in that trouble again, so I’m surprised you haven’t.”
Chairman Cllr Neil Shorter (Con) said it was clear Mr Ahmadzai had “little or no input or understanding” of the application itself, and a lack of CCTV at the back of the shop could lead to non-licenced transactions taking place.
Delivering the outcome, he added: “The sub-committee were of the opinion that the evidence put forward by the applicant, and that given verbally, was not sufficient to support the licensing objectives.
“The lack of written policies and procedures did not give the sub-committee any confidence that – should the application be granted – that the applicant would promote any of the licensing objectives.”