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Magic Chef Chinese in Canterbury stopped from selling alcohol until 3am


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A bid to open a pizza shop serving alcohol until 3am has been knocked back amid police fears over increased crime and anti-social behaviour.

Businessman Homayon Shafiei, 33, had applied for a premises licence as part of plans to convert the former Magic Chef Chinese in St Dunstan’s Street, Canterbury, into a takeaway pizza joint.

Magic Chef Chinese
Magic Chef Chinese

But his bid to sell booze until the early hours sparked about 20 objections, with opponents concerned about late-night nuisance caused by drunken customers.

The application was put before the city council’s licensing sub-committee at a meeting on Tuesday, but rejected after 30 minutes of deliberations by the three-member panel.

Despite the strong criticism levelled at his proposal, Mr Shafiei said afterwards: “I am surprised by the result.

“I live next door to the Wetherspoon, the West Gate Inn, which has a licence until 3am and yet mine got refused.”

The panel heard evidence from a number of objectors, including Canterbury police constable James Gall.

“Canterbury has one of the busiest night time economies in the county, vastly aided by universities and number of students coming to the city..." PC James Gall

He told the hearing Westgate remains a crime hotspot, with disorderly behaviour frequently taking place in the area, including people urinating in the street, drug use, criminal damage and sex offences.

He claimed the sale of alcohol until 3am at the city centre takeaway would “severely increase” the demand on police forces.

“Canterbury has one of the busiest night time economies in the county, vastly aided by universities and number of students coming to the city, that do like to have takeaway food,” he said.

“The anti-social behaviour and crime is expected to increase with Westgate Kebabs likely to reopen and the North Lane taxi rank in the position it is at the moment.”

A premises licence for the Magic Chef was granted in 2012, with takeaway bosses permitted to serve alcohol until about 1am on Mondays to Thursdays, and 1.30am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Applicant Homayon Shafiei, 33, from Canterbury, wants to turn the former Magic Chef Chinese into a pizza restaurant selling alcohol (15520583)
Applicant Homayon Shafiei, 33, from Canterbury, wants to turn the former Magic Chef Chinese into a pizza restaurant selling alcohol (15520583)

However, Mr Shafiei wanted this to be extended until 3am from Mondays to Saturdays.

He said customers would be permitted to purchase six bottles of alcohol at a time, provided they ordered food with them.

But they would not be permitted to drink the alcohol in the takeaway itself, leading to fears drunken and disorderly behaviour would spill out onto the streets.

The applicant faced a further grilling over his reluctance to hire door staff during busy periods on weekends and the lack of parking facilities provided for delivery drivers and customers.

Jan Pahl, who was representing the Canterbury Society, said: “This is a deeply historic part of our city and a lot of tourists visit Canterbury West.

“It’s really important we look after it and continue to show people it’s a good place to live in.”

Amanda Dean-Harris, who lives in Westgate, told the committee: “I worry a licence with more hours will result in more anti-social behaviour, not less.”

“This is a deeply historic part of our city and a lot of tourists visit Canterbury West..." Jan Pahl

After the decision was announced, committee chairman Cllr Ashley Clark said: “We do consider seriously matters where the police make objections because they are the people who have to clean up the mess if we make a bad decision.

“I am particularly concerned about the experience of residents and how their lives are affected by public nuisance.”

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