Express & Star

Takeaway’s bid for new late night licence fails

A Stafford takeaway that lost its late night licence has failed in its bid to be able to serve customers after 11pm again.

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Peppers In Bridge Street, Stafford

Stafford Borough Council revoked the late night refreshment licence for Peppers in Bridge Street in July after concerns were raised by police about how the premises was being managed.

The takeaway’s licence was also reviewed last year following a request from Staffordshire Police. In November 2022 the council’s licensing sub-committee ruled that the premises licence be suspended for six weeks, and said it expected the licence to use that time to improve management, ensure proper provision of door staff and compliance with CCTV conditions.

The takeaway remains open for business but is not allowed to operate after 11pm without the licence. A fresh application for a premises licence was made by a new holder – Ghulam Abbas – but Staffordshire Police objected because of concerns about prevention of crime and disorder and public nuisance and safety.

On Thursday (December 7), Stafford Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee met to consider the latest premises licence application. A report to the committee said: “The premises licence holder of the premises is the brother-in-law of the previous licence holder.

“The application is for a Late-Night Refreshment Licence to operate from 11pm – 5am on Fridays and Saturdays and on Bank Holidays. However the application states that the premises will only be open to the public from 4.30pm – 11pm; in view of the apparent contradiction, it is assumed that the late-night refreshment licence is for deliveries only.”

Committee members heard representations from Staffordshire Police and the applicant behind closed doors. The committee announced its decision in public however.

Councillor Angela Loughran, who chaired the meeting, said: “The decision of the committee is to refuse the application made by Mr Abbas for a late night refreshment licence. He has been involved with the business since approximately January 12 2023 and has knowledge of the previous issues of the business.

“Mr Abbas took ownership of the business on September 11 2023 and made the application on October 16 for a late night refreshment licence for delivery only, which made reference to complying with the licence objectives. Since October 16 there have been a number of occasions, as demonstrated by Staffordshire Police, that Peppers has traded after the 11pm deadline.

“This shows a lack of understanding of the licensing objectives and conditions. There has been no demonstration of attempt to comply with the licensing requirements, or engagement with Staffordshire Police to address issues with the provision of food outside specified hours.”

Mr Abbas, speaking through a representative after the hearing, said he was disappointed with the decision. He added: “The committee has said I should be working with the police – I have reached out to the police.

“The police have not contacted me. I have asked for the police to put forward conditions, and I was willing to agree to conditions, but instead the police objected.

“Businesses are suffering and we have a committee that is out of touch. They don’t understand how online ordering works.”