Street trader told to burger off

A BURGER bar owner says he faces financial ruin after being asked to move on from his town centre spot - just one day after started trading. Chris O'Hara, who runs Porky's hot dog and burger stand, says he will fight to stay on his pitch in Weston's Itali

A BURGER bar owner says he faces financial ruin after being asked to move on from his town centre spot - just one day after started trading.Chris O'Hara, who runs Porky's hot dog and burger stand, says he will fight to stay on his pitch in Weston's Italian Gardens and his customers have been rallying support by signing a petition.Mr O'Hara was given permission to trade at the site on a temporary licence and town centre manager Steve Townsend says he had hoped it would remain there throughout the summer because cash from the deal would have helped pay for the Christmas lights in the High Street. But following complaints from competitors, Mr O'Hara has been told he will have to find an alternative pitch.The 39-year-old, who lives in Axbridge, said: "I'm seeking legal advice. After two months of negotiation I set up the stall in accordance with the Town Centre Partnership, planners at North Somerset Council and an environmental health officer who had inspected and approved our equipment and qualifications."The day after opening I was told I would have to leave the site following complaints from business owners about the stall."I was shocked as I have put over £10,000 into this venture and closed a business in Bridgwater to dedicate myself to it. It could leave me in financial ruin."Mr Townsend said: "The Town Centre Partnership looks after the area on which the stall is pitched for North Somerset Council, and with any contract issued to traders we can give seven days notice."All the way through the negotiations it was made clear that the stall would trade on the basis that town centre businesses that pay rates had no problem with it. "Unfortunately there were a number of complaints about the stall and notice had to be given."It is a real shame because the money raised from renting the pitch to the stallholder would have gone directly to the Christmas lights fund. Mr O'Hara has been offered alternative pitches."As the Weston & Somerset Mercury went to press Mr O'Hara was vowing to stay at the town centre spot. He said: "I am not going anywhere. This is the spot I was given and this is where I will stay.


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