Residents lose latest battle in kebab van rowBy Caroline Cook
October 24, 2011
Neighbours who have battled against a kebab van in their street for nearly a decade have lost their latest fight after the vendor was granted a licence renewal.
Villagers living near the Alpar Kebab van in Milestone Avenue turned out to a hearing on Thursday, October 6, for the ninth year in a row to ask the council not to renew the licence for the street vendor.
But the licensing appeal committee granted the vendor a licence for six months with the condition that Wokingham Borough Council will be monitoring the licence and site.
The kebab van was first granted its licence in 2002 to serve food until 12.30am Sunday to Thursday and 2am on Friday and Saturday, but owner Muhammet Alpar must renew the licence every year.
Those living close to the van have complained litter from the vendor attracts rats to the area and that customers urinate in the bushes along the road.
A representative speaking on behalf of Mr Alpar at the licence hearing said: “I have never ever seen rodents there either during the day or in the evening.
“I believe there was an allegation that rodents are feeding off the discarded food.
“We can go round and round in circles with that but the only way we can come to any conclusion is if someone catches a rodent and does an autopsy and finds out if they have been eating kebabs.”
Gordon Campbell, who lives in Milestone Avenue, told the hearing issues surrounding the kebab van had remained a concern for residents and had not got any better over the years.
He said: “There have been comments about rats and I do not really want to do DNA testing on rats but there is a feeling among residents they are more common.
“The very fact that we are here indicates the strength of feeling the residents have about this situation and it has been an on-going situation for some time.”
Mr Campbell, speaking on behalf of the residents in Milestone Avenue, added families living in the street felt intimidated by large groups hanging around the van at night.
He said: “It is a narrow road with only one exit and people do sometimes feel intimidated.
“I still feel that it is just very intimidating that you have to stop so close to it.”
The hearing heard Wokingham Borough Council officer Karen Court conducted a spot check of the site on Thursday, September 29, and found an additional member of staff working at the van who had not been registered as an assistant for the van.
She also found there were no fire extinguishers or a fire blanket on the site which is a breach of legislation.
Councillor Ken Miall, ward member for Maiden Erlegh and a member of the hearing panel, said: “These conditions are in place for you to follow.
“There are a lot of things in here which leads me to think you are slipping on some of these conditions and some of these conditions are quite serious.”
Mr Alpar said the van had only been without fire provisions for a week as he had been advised to renew the equipment during a gas and electricity safety check because they were out of date.
The kebab van owner also told the hearing he took photos at the end of every shift to show how the site was left by staff who did pick up any litter left lying around.
He also said he would supply the council with details of the assistant, who had been working while another worker was on holiday, on the same day.