Published on March 29th, 2011 | by Dean Carr
Restaurant hits back after drink licence blow
A RESTAURANT boss has hit back at police for trying to scupper his bid for a 24-hour alcohol licence.
The manager of the said police would rather shut down the town at 10pm than let pubs and restaurants ply their trade.
Sadik Ali was responding to criticism of his application for an all-day, all-night drink licence.
Wiltshire Police are objecting to the application, as reported last week.
They say that the Regent Circus area, where the restaurant is based, is already a hotspot for alcohol-related crime and disorder, and that the council should be considering reducing the scope of licences – not increasing them.
“Half the time police don’t know what they’re talking about,” said Mr Ali, 41.
“When we applied for a licence, you have to apply to eight different authorities. Only one objected. It was the police. We got no public objections.
“When you and me go to work, we go to graft. The police would rather shut down the town at 10pm.
“At the end of the day, we’re taxpayers and it’s our right. No one else objected to it. Just police.”
He said: “Most nights there’s hardly any police presence.
“They can’t just come out on duty and expect to sit around in their high-profile cars and not do anything.“ The restaurant, based in Victoria Road, already has permission to sell alcohol from 10am onwards, and as late as 3.30pm on some nights.
Mr Ali said the only reason he wants the licence is because during the big freeze last winter, a number of guests were stuck in the restaurant long after he was legally obliged to move them outside.
He wants the licence just in case such a situation arises again, and has no intention of extending his normal opening hours.
In the last five years, he has only had to call police three times, he said.
“It’s not like we’re getting trouble,” he said.
“This is their last stop. They get in a taxi and go home.
“We get the decent people, not the troublemakers.”
A decision on the application was due to be taken on Thursday.
But Mr Ali was late in appearing before the council’s licensing panel at the Civic Offices,and the meeting was postponed.
Police licensing officer Siân Kalynka, in her letter of objection to the application, said: “The premises is situated in an area that experiences high levels of alcohol -related crime and disorder due to several late night refreshment premises, a nightclub, a lap dancing club and a new, large late night venue.
“The hours of 24 hours a day, seven days a week would not improve the situation.
“And we are currently looking into other late night refreshment venues and the problems associated with them in the night time economy in Swindon town centre.”
Source : Swindon Advertiser