Backlash against saturation zone after City Road booze bid rejected

April 5, 2011 4 Comments »
Backlash against saturation zone after City Road booze bid rejected

kishore kancherla

The owner of a curry house that lost its bid to serve booze in Cardiff’s saturation zone has hit out at councillors for “effectively banning” new business.

Businessman Kishore Kancherla, owner of Pappadums N Chutneys due to open on City Road, Roath, in May saw his application to serve alcohol at the restaurant from 11am to 11pm daily thrown out by councillors on Friday.

Police and councillors had objected to the application on fears that it would increase drink-fuelled crime and antisocial behaviour.

But a furious Mr Kancherla revealed he had spent £45,000 renovating the restaurant already – but says he has lost half of his business “from the beginning” because of the decision.

He told the Echo: “The problems of crime and disorder which they mentioned would not have been created by an Indian restaurant.

“I was asking for a licence to 11pm and the problems occur after 11pm – so I don’t see the reason for automatically rejecting it. And the incidents increased when they introduced the policy anyway.

“The decision will obviously have a huge effect on my business. People want to have a curry and a pint of beer. I won’t be able to attract customers and I’ll lose that investment.

“The policy is killing new business – they are effectively banning anyone new coming in and it just means the existing businesses have no competition.

“If they are going to reject any business applying in the area, why bother asking them to apply at all?”

Police told a licensing sub-committee hearing that in the first year of the saturation zone policy being in place (2009-2010), there was an increase in 106 incidents in the area from 543 in 2008-2009 when there was no policy, to 649 after it was brought in.

But South Wales Police licensing officer PC Anthony Roach told the hearing: “I am not saying the policy is not working, as the police believe that if the policy was not in force, the total incidents would much higher than it is today.

“Even with the saturation policy in force, there has been an increase of 106 – if there is an increase of licensed premises in this area, it would be higher.”

He also told the hearing that the drinking earlier in the evening contributed to problems later on, which the police would then have to deal with.

The restaurant had also faced objections from councillors Mark Stephens and Richard Jerrett, who argued that it would “exacerbate” the problem of antisocial behaviour.

A Cardiff council spokesman said that each case was considered on merit and that applicants had to produce evidence that they wouldn’t make existing problems worse.

He said: “The committee has guidelines to follow in such instances and decided that as the operator was unable to prove that they could operate without increasing the violent crime in the area, an alcohol licence would not be appropriate.

“Applicants have the right to appeal the decisions of the Licensing Committee.”

Graham Morgan, director of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, said it seemed “unfair” to reject an alcohol application, describing it as an “overreaction”.

He said: “If you have a restaurant of that type, trying to appeal to an evening market, I think, notwithstanding the fact we have got these zones, it would be in a controlled environment.

“If someone entered the restaurant, they presumably wouldn’t get served. So to reject it because of the zone seems an unfair way of approaching the problem.”

He added that there was a “inconsistency” in the council’s approach, saying the fact that planning permission was granted for a refit of Pappadums N Chutney ahead of the licence rejection was “ludicrous”.

Robert Lloyd Griffiths, director of the Institute of Directors in Wales, said that he had “sympathy” with Mr Kancherla’s position.

“There needs to be a dose of common sense here. If there’s problems with drinking, let’s look at it sensibly,” he said.

“I don’t know what it is like in particular times in the evening, but it seems the case that past 1am is when trouble starts – then this licence would not have affected that.”

What do you think about the decision? What do you think about the saturation zone on City Road? Let us know in the comments below

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4 Comments

  1. tom3 April 5, 2011 at 9:55 am - Reply

    Presumably someone opening a new business would have done research and should have known that the City Rd/Crwys Rd area was a Council designated saturation zone. The Council is not saying that new businesses cannot open up in other areas. The problem is that this area, and areas like Cowbridge Road East in Canton, become less diverse and end up being dominated by restaurants and takeaways with all the problems of litter and alcohol inevitably associated with premises opening late into the night.

  2. Twm April 5, 2011 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    He should open a lap dancing club, the council seem perfectly happy with that.

    Did Cllr Richard Jerrett declare an interest before objecting to this application? I'm not sure if he still works at the Tut and Shive but he certainly worked there for a number – it could appear that he is using his position as a councillor to object to new alcohol licences being issued on City Road.
    I'm not suggesting Cllr Jerrett has done anything wrong, I just think it should be noted if he has declared an interest.

  3. johnny99 April 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    The solution is to just give away a free bottle of wine for each order over a certain value. That would increase the number of customers coming to the restaurant and reduce the impact on loss of profit caused by not being able to sell alcohol. The law doesn't stop people drinking alcohol in the establishment and doesn't stop it being given away.

    So the restaurant has an opportunity to demonstrate how ineffective the saturation zone policy is.

  4. C Keogh May 24, 2011 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    I'm personally glad it's been refused – City Road is overun with Takeaways / Restaurants some of which blatantly ignore the terms of thier licence & "advertised opening hours" and surely before Mr Kancherla ploughed the £45k in he should have done his research or did he just presume that he could do what he liked along with the rest of the owners that dont live near there? __The litter is disgsuting first thing in the morning on city road. In the evening & weekends cars are parking where they like i.e on double yellow lines, residents parking & on corners it's ridiculous I've never been so happy to see a traffic warden at the moment, where do these places expect people to park when they visit these extablishments? __The noise is ridiculous at all hours of the night and it can be a very intimidating place – it never used to be __The constant smell of these places is overbearing ____

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