New kebab vendor in town centre

first_imgThe controversial opening of a new kebab shop directly opposite Lava Ignite on Park End Street is scheduled for the end of this month, according to City Councillor Sajjad Malik, a business partner of the scheme.Though the Mediterranean and Turkish restaurant and takeaway will be “alcohol free”, police are concerned that it may become a congregating point for drunken revellers leaving local clubs at closing time. The Oxford City Centre Neighbourhood Police said, “The presence of a late night restaurant and take-away facility in Park End Street until 4am would have a severe impact on community safety. [It would] greatly increase the opportunity for violence, aggression and anti-social behaviour.”The manager at a local takeaway restaurant agreed, noting that “it is a hard job for the police, which is only getting worse”.These concerns were corroborated by the West Area Planning Committee, who suggested that the restaurant’s application for planning should be refused as it would attract “potentially rowdy and intoxicated people to it rather than encouraging their safe dispersal from the area.”However, clubbers outside Park End on Monday night seemed altogether in favour, with student Kimberley Nash pointing out that it may help decrease disorderly behaviour as “it would mean catching a taxi straight from the club, meaning less drunk people walking through town.”Charlotte McKenty, another student at the club on Monday, added, “it would be great as it wouldn’t involve walking to Maccy’s in town, and so would get loads of business. The police officers would know where everyone would be after closing time.”Mr Malik defends the takeaway against accusations of promoting unruliness, saying, “Rowdiness and drunkenness is brought on by the establishments that sell the alcohol. Food is scientifically shown to sober people up.” In Malik’s view the only way to cut down on disorderliness is to reduce the licensing hours of local clubs and bars. He pointed out that the Bodrum Kebab House on Cowley Road, whose owners are also involved in the opening of the new shop, has been open and “trouble free” for 23 years, despite being close to the Regal and O2 Academy.Most other kebab vendors in the area seemed relatively unconerned about the prospect of new comptition. Hasan on Broad Street said, “It will not affect my business – good luck to everyone!” Hussein, situated on St Giles, further noted that “each business which starts afresh will be busy” but after this it “depends on the market”. However, one vendor did add: “it would affect my business and there will be a lot of trouble there: I agree with the police.”Most people concluded that the prime position of the new restaurant opposite Park End meant that it would be the first port of call after leaving the cheese floor on a Wednesday night.  Somerville first year Rebecca McKie claimed, “I would probably go on the way home.”Nevertheless, for some people the setting up of another kebab vendor in Oxford seemed nonsensical in what is already a saturated market. One student noted that because everyone already has a favourite van, the new restaurant would be “commercially unviable”.Others seemed sceptical of combining a takeaway joint with a restaurant. One first year student commented, “It would depend on how posh it would look”. Undergraduate Ben Turnbull suggested that “something different that people hadn’t tried before – such as Polish or Jamaican cuisine, like on Cowley Road – would be better.”last_img read more