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Bid to transform former Jobcentre in Whitstable into A La Turka restaurant


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Plans to transform a vacant Jobcentre building into a Turkish restaurant have been unveiled.

The boss of popular A La Turka, which already has three branches in east Kent, have submitted a planning application to open another branch at the site in Whitstable high street.

The site for proposals put forward by the boss of A La Turka. Picture: A La Turka
The site for proposals put forward by the boss of A La Turka. Picture: A La Turka

Owner Mehmet Dari, who opened the St Dunstan's Street branch six years ago, wants to expand his business.

He also owns restaurants in Herne Bay, Ramsgate and another in Canterbury.

A La Turka serves dishes originating from Gaziantep, a city and settlement in Turkey's south eastern region.

Mr Dari is from the city and arrived in the UK in 1998.

Since then, he has learnt the English language and opened his first food outlet in 2000. He previously run the Direct Pizza Company takeaway in Herne Bay.

Plans for the A La Turka restaurant in Whitstable. Picture: A La Turka
Plans for the A La Turka restaurant in Whitstable. Picture: A La Turka

His application is a change of use of the building at 13 High Street from a Jobcentre to a restaurant.

The company first announced it was eyeing-up the site in January after setting-up a Facebook page.

In a post, accompanied by a picture of the restaurant's logo above the vacant building, it read: "Exciting times are coming!"

But on May 26 it submitted its plans to the city council.

There will be new decking in the rear courtyard with an outside seating area with a retractable roof terrace awning, if given the green-light.

Memhet Dari at A La Turka in St Dunstan's, Canterbury. Picture: Chris Davey
Memhet Dari at A La Turka in St Dunstan's, Canterbury. Picture: Chris Davey

It has requested opening hours for seven days a week, including bank holidays, between 10am and 1am.

There are plans to employ 10 full-time and 10 part-time staff which will give a boost to the town.

If approved, it would transform a site which has been neglected for three years.

The former Jobcentre closed in October 2017 after the Department for Work and Pensions announced plans to save money and the building has been empty ever since.

The government claimed at the time it needed fewer offices to cover the whole country because people tend to submit their claims for benefits online.

Read more: All the latest news from Whitstable

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