Portsmouth takeaway gets 5am licence after missing out on student trade

Youth unemployment in Portsmouth area drops by two-thirds in five years

  • Guildhall Walk takeaway granted 5am amended licence by councillors in two-to-one vote
  • Both police and council officer had called against the proposals
  • Business owner says she has a ‘good relationship’ with students
  • Takeaway previously had faulty CCTV system and broke two licensing laws
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A LATE night city takeaway can now stay open until 5am after councillors granted an amended premises licence yesterday.

Gida Express becomes the first takeaway in Portsmouth’s Guildhall Walk to be open at the early hour despite police fears that it could potentially lead to an escalation of violence in the area.

There is a real issue with crime and disorder in the hours which she wishes to trade and she has shown she cannot comply with conditions.

PC Pete Rackham

The decision by Portsmouth City Council’s licensing sub-committee was made following a vote of two-to-one. It comes less than a month after councillors granted nearby nightclub Pryzm an amended licence to open later during the week despite similar fears being raised by the force.

The council’s own licensing officer, Nikki Humphreys, had also written to object to the application with the takeaway found to have had a faulty CCTV system last month.

Councillors were also told during the meeting that on two separate occasions this May, an undercover officer had found the takeaway serving customers out of hours, breaching licensing law. The shop had been denied an earlier application for a later licence this January.

Minoo Sefidan – the takeaway owner – pleaded with councillors, telling them she helps students with food and water even when they don’t have the cash to hand to pay.

She said: ‘I help the students. I give them water and burgers, even if they do not have money.

‘This helps as we never have any problems in the shop and we look after our customers.’

When pressed by Hampshire police’s licensing officer PC Pete Rackham over how long the CCTV system – which had found to be defective last month – had been broken, Mrs Selfidan said: ‘I do not know.’

Her solicitor, Phil Crier, said the business had been missing out on customers since Guildhall Walk’s Zanzi and The Astoria were given 4am licences last year as Gida Express was previously only allowed to stay open until 3.30am.

But PC Rackham urged councillors to reject the application. He said: ‘She has demonstrated that she did not have a working CCTV system and admitted that the shop continued to trade after permitted hours.

‘There is a real issue with crime and disorder in the hours which she wishes to trade and she has shown she cannot comply with conditions.’

Mr Crier pleaded the case for the takeaway owner, adding ‘nobody ever got drunk from eating a kebab’ but admitted there was ‘potential’ for the licence to have an impact on crime and disorder in the Guildhall Walk Cumulative Impact Zone.

PC Rackham said police would respect the decision.