Published: 12:55, 13 December 2017
The owner of the cafe on Deal Pier says a disagreement over opening hours is the reason he is leaving the prime site at the beginning of January.
Jasin Kaplan, who runs Jasin’s Restaurant, claims he was in the process of taking Dover District Council to court over a reduction in opening hours, but has now decided to pull out of his 15-year lease almost six years early to avoid it.
He has described the location, which was used for filming of ITV’s hit drama Liar, as “one of the best in the world” and thanked his customers for their support.
Dover District Council says it has reached a mutual agreement with Mr Kaplan to terminate his lease on January 1, 2018. A temporary cafe will be set up before a formal tender process is launched to select a new operator.
Mr Kaplan told KentOnline's sister paper, the East Kent Mercury: “We were in the process of going to court but we’ve decided to pull out of the lease.
“We decided it was better to leave. We didn’t want to pursue the case any more. We have an agreement with DDC and all outstanding issues will be sorted between us.”
Mr Kaplan opened his cafe and restaurant on November 21, 2008, and had a 15-year open lease which was due to be renewed.
He has listed issues they disagreed over including electricity and insurance, but mainly opening hours.
DDC has chosen not to respond to these claims.
He said: “When we signed the lease we were assured that the pier would be closed only when there was a danger to the public. Of course we complied with that because public safety is our concern too.
“We had trusted the council but they started to reduce our opening hours. We used to be able to open until 10pm in the week but they reduced that in the winter time to 6pm.
“They wouldn’t let us open on New Year or Boxing Day. It was badly affecting trading.
“We have been making payments and we’ve always been up to date with the rent.
“We’re not into taking money from a public body. We pay our rent and taxes on time so that our public bodies are strong and able to look after us. We have come to the conclusion that it is not economical for us to stay here. It is not a viable business venture.”
Mr Kaplan says he will now put his time and energy into running his fish and chip shop in Telegraph Road with the help of his wife and daughter.
He added: “The pier is an iconic location, one of the best in the world.
“We worked extremely hard to make Jasin’s Restaurant a magnet for people to come to.
We hope we have served our customers well and done Deal proud.
“It’s time DDC invests properly on Deal Pier.
"They need to work with whoever takes on the cafe to ensure a good service is given to the people of Deal.”
A spokesman for DDC said: “Dover District Council has reached agreement with the current operator of the Deal Pier café to terminate their lease on January 1, 2018.
"We anticipate that the café will continue to trade as normal until the end of this year.
“It is proposed that a temporary café service will be put in place as soon as possible in the New Year in advance of a formal tender process to select a new operator.
"The concession was terminated by mutual agreement between both parties. It would not be appropriate to comment further.”