A Hastings kebab shop has avoided losing its licence, with councillors saying they believed owners have had a ‘huge wake up call’.
The decision came as part of a hearing on Wednesday (February 12), where a panel of Hastings borough councillors considered calls to revoke a late night food licence from the Flames Grill takeaway in Havelock Road.
Sussex Police had been calling for the licence to be revoked in light of a ‘serious incident’ at the takeaway in November last year, in which staff had allegedly armed themselves with kitchen implements before confronting a group said to be causing problems at the premises.
Speaking on behalf of Sussex Police, barrister Michael Forster said: “What happened on that occasion is that members of staff went out of the shop armed with weapons to confront members of the public.
“Obviously to arm oneself with an offensive weapon, like a knife, in those circumstances is an extremely serious matter and could have resulted in far worse injuries than those that were actually sustained.
“If any of the knives had been used to stab someone there could have been a fatality and that is why police regard that as such a serious incident.
“The police position is that incident in its own right should result in revocation of this [licence].”
Mr Forester said this incident – described by officers as a ‘large scale disorder’ – had come after a number of other incidents police considered to be connected to the premises.
He also said Sussex Police had serious concerns about the takeaway’s CCTV system, saying it had not been compliant with its licensing conditions for some time.
While police argued the November incident was grounds for the licence to be revoked immediately, owners said it had been a ‘massive wake up call’ which had led to significant changes to how they operate.
Speaking on behalf of Flames Grill, solicitor Ilian Granville of Butters David Grey said these changes included the installation of a new CCTV system, the appointment of a new SIA-registered doorman and the business joining Hastings Barwatch.
Mr Granville also described the takeaway as a ‘family business’ and said licence holder Calgar Kanik was committed to working with police and other authorities in future.
He said: “My client’s position is that they are absolutely committed to running the business in a safe environment for their staff and for their customers.
“They want to liaise with authorities, they do want help with the authorities and they are very willing to do that.
“This is a family business at the end of the day and the only licensable activity is the late night refreshment. That is at the core of their business and in order to move forward they are willing to accept all of the conditions [proposed].”
Ultimately the committee was swayed by the owner’s response to the hearing, opting not to revoke the licence as requested.
Handing down the decision, sub-committee chairman Cllr Andy Patmore said: “The committee has listened carefully to all submissions before it and are minded to keep the premises licence in place subject to all of the following conditions.
“The committee believe these conditions are fair and a proportionate response in upholding the licensing objectives, particularly the prevention of crime and disorder and public safety.
“We believe this has been a huge wake up call for the licence holder and hope that he manages and controls the premises in compliance with the conditions.
“We would also hope that the licence holder heeds police advice and does not involve themselves in future incidents.”
While councillors opted not to revoke the licence as requested by police, they did put additional conditions in place.
These included earlier closing hours (2am between Wednesday and Sunday and 3am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday) and stricter conditions on what CCTV system the business should have.
The business will also be required to have two SIA-registered door staff outside the premises on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
This condition was imposed despite Mr Granville arguing that the costs for it would be significant for the business.