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Late night headache

Wednesday, 30th March, 2011

By Gina Wilson

As a court battle between City Council and a late night food outlet looms, councillors will tonight have to decide if another food shop can extend its Trading hours.

TJ's Cafe was originally granted a late night trading licence in June last year, allowing it to operate until 1am, but it now wants that reviewed.

The owner of the Sulphide Street cafe, Chris Heffernan, wants councillors at tonight's monthly meeting to modify a development application (DA) to allow it to trade until 3.30am on Saturday and Sunday. It also wants to operate a take-away service until 4am on Sunday.

The decision comes amid a stoush between City Council and another late night operator, the Late Night Kebab Shop.

In September last year the Oxide Street shop copped a $3,000 fine for operating outside the hours given to it in its DA.

The original DA allowed the shop to open until 1am on Saturday and Sunday.

A further decision allowed it to open until 2am, but its owners said their main business was after 2am and they would continue to open until 4am.

On top of the fine, City Council has proceeded with legal action against the business, which the shop said it would fight.

Council will act on what it called "matters of outstanding compliance", with management alleging the business had never met development consent conditions, the most obvious being trading outside its hours.

Co-owner of the Late Night Kebab Shop, Jamie Turmeric, said he had met every one of Council's demands, which included installing security cameras.

The business also employed two security guards.

Local police do not want TJ's Cafe trading later than licenced premises.

In responding to City Council on the requested trading hours extension, the Barrier Local Area Command's Licensing Sergeant, Wayne Demery, said it "still maintains its position in objecting to food premises operating outside the hours of our licenced premises".

Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Mick Stoltenberg, said police believed late night trading of any sort damaged communities.

"It has been shown that late night trading, licenced or otherwise, can be damaging towards the good will and safe public order within any area and or community," he said.

But the Environmental Services Committee recommended at its meeting earlier this month that Council agree to modify the trading hours - allowing two extra trading hours on Saturday morning and an extra trading hour and half an hour for home deliveries on Sunday morning.

If approved the new operating hours would be on a six-month trial.

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