Canterbury Pizza GoGo’s late-night bid refused after backlash

A popular takeaway’s bid to attempt to stay open later was refused after complaints about noise from students and delivery drivers.

Pizza GoGo in Wincheap, run by Abdul Rouf, had applied for a license until 3.30am in the morning but was forced to move this to 3am after filing the wrong time on the application.

Pizza GoGo in Wincheap

Residents near the A28, where the takeaway is located, had sent in objections claiming the pizzeria was already loud enough and any noise later in the night would stop them sleeping.

As a compromise Mr Rouf suggested delivery drivers would be told to stop their engines and have no radio or music in their car when collecting orders.

He also said would shut the shop between 11pm and 11.30pm and that it would only be open for delivery drivers and not the public.

Delivery drivers would have also parked at the nearby 24-hour Esso garage where Mr Rouf said he had a good relationship with the owners.

However, at a Canterbury council license hearing on Wednesday, councilors were left unimpressed by the suggestions.

The lay-by opposite Pizza GoGo runs in front of a row of shops
The lay-by opposite Pizza GoGo runs in front of a row of shops

During the debate, Wincheap ward Cllr Nick Eden-Green (Lib Dem) asked how it would be enforced, adding: “I appreciate arrangements may have been made with the nearby garage but the fact is this is currently a problem.

“Objections have been raised saying unfortunately pizza delivery cars, sometimes up to eight, clog up the lay-bys for hours at a time.

“Another says delivery drivers sit in the lay-by with engines running sometimes playing loud music.

“How can that be enforced? It’s my understanding the owner will not have the legal powers to stop this from happening.

“He may well ask this is done, but he may also be busy with orders and I question how enforcement is going to take place given that a late night we have no police on the streets to enforce such things.”

Abdul Rouf, owner of Pizza GoGo, feels his business is being unfairly targeted
Abdul Rouf, owner of Pizza GoGo, feels his business is being unfairly targeted

Chairman of the committee Cllr Ashley Clark (Con) confirmed only the police could respond in such scenarios and that it was in their power to refuse or accept the license.

Ultimately councillors refused the new license as the councillor’s legal officer Paul Tapsell said: “The evidence that has been presented to the committee and the conditions suggest there have been existing problems and it is felt the conditions offered are not practicable, enforceable or would not prevent public nuisance.

“The committee were concerned about the specifics of the closure between 11pm and 11.30pm, that is an integral part of this application, and the limits of activity between that period would lead to confusion.

“Delivery drivers being seen waiting or going in and out of the premises with pizzas could cause members of the public to think the premises was open. That could create problems with people trying to gain entry or trying to order in person.

He also said the pizzeria would be the only shop open after 10pm in the area so could keep people up at night.

Pizza GoGo will still operate up until 11pm but can’t open any later than that.

Boss Abdul Rouf previously told KentOnline how he feels his shop is being unfairly targeted.

He says Pizza GoGo has just two to three delivery drivers each day, who use a nearby car park or adhere to the lay-by’s 20-minute limit.

And he says those using parking in the lay-by for long periods are not employed by his firm, and are generally drivers from independent delivery companies.

“During the pandemic we lost a lot from the business and we lost a lot of customers,” the 36-year-old said.

‘Unfortunately shops in front of us on the other side of the road don’t like us – I don’t know why…’

“That’s why we were trying to open late night, just for delivery.

“Unfortunately shops in front of us on the other side of the road don’t like us – I don’t know why.

“We’ve got a 24-hour petrol station two doors down from us, and we’ve got a pub two doors up. Cars go up and down 24/7. This is a main road.”

He added that the lay-by is “a public place” and that anyone overstaying the 20-minute limit is “to do with the police and the council and the ticket man”.

And he claims his staff have been intimidated and shouted at by neighbors, when using the lay-by correctly and adhering to its 20-minute limit.

Brian Robinson of Bits 'n' Pieces
Brian Robinson of Bits ‘n’ Pieces

Brian Robinson, who owns furniture shop Bits ‘n’ Pieces directly opposite, previously said the extended hours “would cause a massive public nuisance”.

“The main reason for the complaint more than anything is parking,” said Mr Robinson, who has traded in Wincheap for 30 years.

He claims delivery drivers regularly park in a lay-by outside his shop – where the maximum stay is 20 minutes – for extended periods of time, “ruining” his business by impacting his customers.

He adds that drivers parking there late at night cause issues for residents.

“These guys park in the lay-by, there’s plenty of loud talking and banter, their engines are running,” he said.

Brian Robinson, of Bits 'n' Pieces, and Stacey Jones of Wincheap Hardware objected to the licensing application
Brian Robinson, of Bits ‘n’ Pieces, and Stacey Jones of Wincheap Hardware objected to the licensing application

“And at the moment that’s till 11pm, which is bad enough – but this is an application until 3am.

“This is Wincheap – it’s a residential area. It isn’t in the middle of town.

“How would you like it if delivery drivers were parking in front of your house till 3am?”

Two doors down, Stacey Jones runs Wincheap Hardware and lives in a flat above the shop.

She says delivery drivers leaving their engines running and talking loudly in the lay-by are already causing issues.

Stacey Jones of Wincheap Hardware
Stacey Jones of Wincheap Hardware

“They hang around outside and they sit on the doorsteps,” she said. “They sit on my doorstep.

“If I’ve got my window open, all you can hear is ‘yada or ya’.

“If we open the windows we can smell the [exhaust] fumes, and if that goes on till 3am, it’s a ridiculous idea.

“It’s unfair. This isn’t town centre, it’s residential.”

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