A TAKEAWAY owner has questioned why city fast food outlets are allowed to open late but a plan to open his chicken shop until 5am was rejected by the council.

An application to allow Kays Chicken in The Cross to open until the early hours was dismissed by Worcester City Council’s licensing committee over fears it would add further to crime and disorder in the city centre.

Police had already objected to the plan saying it had “serious concerns” over the original application because it showed no signs of addressing any of the licensing objectives and had no shown no consideration for safeguarding.

Following the decision, owner Khalid Mahmood questioned why other takeaways in and around The Cross – particularly Shakeeys, McDonalds and Subway – were allowed to remain open until the early hours but his takeaway was not.

Mr Mahmood also said he was shocked to find out the premises licence for Chicks Chicken – which occupied the same building in The Cross last year – had been allowed to trade until the early hours without a premises licence from November 2016 and questioned why that had not been investigated.

With the licence running out in 2016, it also meant Kays was selling chicken without a proper premises licence.

At a meeting of the city council’s licensing committee on Monday (February 11), Cllr Louise Griffiths, chairman of the licensing committee, told Kays it would be granted a licence to open until midnight every night but a bouncer would have to be on the door on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights until the takeaway had closed.

Staff would also have to undergo safeguarding training if they had not already done so.

Police, Public Health bosses at Worcestershire County Council and Worcester Municipal Charities all objected to the application.

Sergeant Paul Smith, of the South Worcestershire licensing team, said allowing a takeaway to open later in the part of the city centre where crime was increasing could attract more crime and disorder – particularly alcohol related violence and anti-social behaviour – and would stretch the police’s beleaguered resources further.

Sgt Smith said: “With the resources we have, we can only go to one or two places at once and when we keep getting more and more food places.

"We can’t be at four or five places at once.

“These types of incidents don’t happen one at a time, unfortunately they come in three or fours because it can be that incidents move.

“The more fast food places we have, the more incidents we get of crime and disorder.”

During a visit by the police’s licensing team on January 19, Kays was still serving at 11.30pm and staff were unable to produce a licence. The takeaway was told by a police officer that the council and trading standards would be informed the following Monday.

The building did not have a premises licence and had not had one since an existing licence ran out on Chicks in November 2016.

After the meeting was reported to a senior officer at Worcester police station two officers were sent to Kays at around 12.30am to tell the owners of the takeaway that it should be closed.

Police said the sections of the application which dealt with the licensing objectives had been left blank and had concerns over Mr Mahmood’s record keeping – particularly with staff and employment records.

Mr Mahmood had originally been invited by West Mercia Police to Worcester police station to discuss the application and the licensing objectives but declined.

Applications in the city’s cumulative impact zone are usually rejected on principle and the burden of proving the takeaway would not cause further crime and disorder falls onto the owners.

The owners of Kays argued the taxi rank helped stop people from congregating outside the takeaway as people would buy food and jump straight in a cab to go home.

Police argued this was not the case and the taxi rank had regularly proved to attract more people who stayed and congregated around that part of the city centre.

Matthew Fung, from the Public Health team at Worcestershire County Council, dismissed the argument that another takeaway in The Cross would dilute crowds hanging around the area and give late night revellers another option to eat rather than congregating.

Mr Fung said giving people another option would only attract more people.

The owners of Kays said steps had been taken to explain to police and the council that it would address the licensing objectives.

Staff at the takeaway had already completed or were due to complete safeguarding training and a comprehensive CCTV system had been installed.