A man exposed himself during a heated argument as a long-running dispute over parking opposite a pizza shop boiled over.
Police were called to Pizza GoGo in Wincheap, near Canterbury, following reports the 23-year-old had exposed his genitals to angry neighbors during the “verbal altercation”.
The confrontation was sparked by an ongoing row over parking opposite the takeaway, and comes as bosses bid to extend the shop’s opening hours to 3am every day.
Residents say delivery drivers and customers are already causing a nuisance – commandeering a lay-by, and causing noise and pollution for those living nearby.
They fear extending its opening hours from 11pm would exacerbate the issue, leaving residents struggling to sleep, and reducing parking spots for customers visiting other stores.
But Pizza GoGo boss Abdul Rouf feels his shop is being unfairly targeted, and says those parking in the lay-by are not Pizza GoGo staff.
He says the shop’s delivery drivers park in a nearby car park, while those using the lay-by are generally from independent food delivery firms.
On Sunday evening, as the dispute intensified, a Pizza GoGo customer from Broadstairs was arrested at about 5.30pm after exposing his genitals.
He was taken into custody, where he was given a caution.
In an application to extend Pizza GoGo’s trading hours, Mr Rouf says he will take steps to minimise the impact of later opening hours on local residents, including training staff, using CCTV cameras to deter anti-social behavior, and double-glazing doors and windows to reduce noise pollution.
But Brian Robinson, who owns furniture shop Bits ‘n’ Pieces directly opposite, says 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.
“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.
“They hang around outside and they sit on the doorsteps. 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.”
Another resident named Colin wrote to the council in objection.
“Noise, disturbance and fumes in my flat are some of the results from the pizza shop being here,” he said.
“The delivery drivers sit in the lay-by with engines running sometimes playing loud music.
“If they are close to my door the exhaust fumes come into my flat and it’s all I can smell for the evening.
“I wholly object to this proposal for late-night opening.”
Cllr Nick Eden-Green, who represents Wincheap on the city council, also objected to the application, saying: “The hours applied for are not acceptable when people will be trying to sleep.
“Furthermore, the area outside is clearly marked with double yellow lines meaning no waiting at any time.
“I do not see how this restriction can be enforced during the hours applied for.”
But pizza shop boss Mr Rouf 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.
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,” explained the 36-year-old.
“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 adds 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”.
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.
“We haven’t done nothing wrong,” said Mr Rouf, who lives above Pizza GoGo.
“I’m just trying to make a living really, I’m not coming here trying to make a problem.”
“I’m so scared to park in the lay-by for two minutes to even take my shopping from the back of the car to drop it to my house because [neighbours are] saying ‘excuse me, please move your car here’.”
Pizza GoGo’s application is being discussed at a meeting of the city council’s licensing committee at 10.30am tomorrow (Wednesday).