Takeaway decision tussle - owner wants new hearing

PUBLISHED: 08:00 07 October 2011

A bowl of french fries or chips, isolated on white with clipping path provided.

A bowl of french fries or chips, isolated on white with clipping path provided.

©2008 Colin & Linda McKie

A DECISION to take away tables and chairs from a seafront takeaway has been overshadowed by confusion after the co-owner said she was unaware a decision was due to be made.

A committee at North Somerset Council last week decided not to renew a street-seating licence for the Waterfront Fish Bar on Regent Street, saying the takeaway had not been complying with rules originally laid out.

But co-owner Michelle Michael said she had not been made aware the hearing was due to take place, and she will be looking for a new one.

Permission to allow the fish bar to place tables and chairs, granted by the council on October 11 last year, was the first of its kind for Weston’s Princess Royal Square.

The planning and regulatory (licensing) committee heard concerns from council officers that Ms Michael was not complying with licence conditions, as there were no signs visible outside saying waiter service was available, and customers were queuing to get food from the fish bar, before eating it at the tables.

Although a separate litter issue was quickly resolved, several non-compliance orders notices were served to Ms Michael, and a decision to refer the matter to the committee was made on August 22.

At the hearing, one of the committee members, councillor Ian Porter, said: “This is clearly not a restaurant, it is a takeaway. We now have an area (Princess Royal Square) which is absolutely fantastic and everybody has said how successful it has been.

“A year ago, this might have been OK, there wasn’t any seating in that area, but now there is lots of seating around the square, which has superseded this in my opinion.”

Although the committee ruled to not renew the permission when it runs out on Monday, Ms Michael said she had been on holiday when the papers summoning her to the hearing had arrived, and staff had not had permission to open them.

She said: “I am in dialogue with the council about the fact that the notice to attend the hearing arrived when I was on holiday.

“In the previous correspondence I had asked them to let my lawyers know, so I am now waiting to see what happens next in terms of the process. We will definitely look for another hearing so that we can put forward our representations.”

A spokesman for the council said it had sent letters to Ms Michael advising her of the time and date of the hearing, and there is no right of appeal for committee decisions.

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