Uncertain future for takeaway

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A TAKEAWAY which has been opening longer than it should have is facing an uncertain future after councillors refused a bid to extend its hours.

Davinci’s, in York Road, Hartlepool, is allowed to sell hot food between 8am to 11.30pm Monday to Saturday but has been staying open longer for more than five years.

The owners applied to extend the hours to 2am, seven days a week, but councillors sitting on Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee narrowly rejected the plans.

Davinci’s is run by Atilla Ozcan, but the premises is owned by Darab Rezai, who admitted the takeaway has been staying open longer than it should and called on councillors to show more understanding.

Mr Rezai said the business had been operating without any problems and said five jobs are now at risk as they need to stay open beyond midnight to make it viable.

Speaking during the meeting, Mr Rezai said: “There have been no complaints.

“None of the residents have put in any complaints.”

After the meeting he said it was Government policy to breathe new life into town centre areas and preventing them from opening later could lead to it having to close, leaving another empty shop.

He added: “In my opinion the councillors should go out there and see the reality of the businesses that are struggling to make ends meet.

“Davinci’s is used by police officers, NHS workers and taxi drivers as they finish their shifts.

“The council have got to be more understanding of the current economic situation.”

Ahead of the meeting there had been no objections, but the committee backed an officer recommendation to refuse the application.

Back in 2000 planning permission was refused for a hot food takeaway, but in 2001 the hot food takeaway was granted permission on appeal with the hours restricted to 8am to 11.30pm, Monday to Saturday.

In 2006, temporary permission was granted to allow opening seven days a week until midnight, but that has since lapsed.

A report said: “In support of the application the applicant states he has operated beyond the approved hours for in excess of five years without detrimental effects.

“That the complaint arose from a competitor.

“The applicant also has advised that without the additional opening hours the use would be uneconomic and employment would be lost.”

The council’s public protection department objected while the police also raised concerns it would have the potential to “increase the risk” of incidents of crime and disorder.

Conservative group leader Ray Wells said he was in favour of safeguarding the existing five jobs, while Labour councillor Paul Beck agreed, adding: “We are looking at people losing their jobs if we don’t support this.”

But Putting Hartlepool First group leader Geoff Lilley urged members to support the officers.

The vote was tied at seven votes all so it was down to Labour councillor Rob Cook, chairman of the committee, to give the casting vote and he said he would follow the recommendation of officers.