'I'll make Shalamar popular again', takeaway boss promises before licence bid is rejected

Troubled city centre takeaway Shalamar has failed in its bid to open late again, despite its new boss claiming he can "bring it back to life".

Monday, 9th December 2019, 4:42 pm
Updated Monday, 9th December 2019, 4:46 pm
Saqib Ali, who also runs Jay Dee's takeaway in Wakefield, took over Shalamar in November.

Saqib Ali has taken over the pizza and chicken shop, on Westgate, which had its licence to sell food after 11pm revoked after the previous management breached a number of conditions.

Mr Ali had asked Wakefield Council for permission to trade until 5am on both nights next weekend, but a panel turned down his application at a hearing on Friday, after ruling "it was not satisfied" there wouldn't be further problems.

Police criticised Mr Ali, who took over Shalamar on November 9, for failing to employ door staff after he took over, in keeping with a condition imposed by the council previously.

Bodycam footage from officers who visited the takeaway on November 24 was shown to the panel. When police asked the new manager why he had no security outside the premises, he was seen to tell them from behind the counter that he couldn't afford it, and that he was trained in security himself.

Asked about this in the hearing, Mr Ali, from Bradford, said he now had arrangements in place with a local firm to employ door staff.

He added: "I'm very sorry. I thought it was just something that came from the police having a problem with the previous owners.

"I understand the severity of it now. Please give me another chance and I'll do it externally.

"I'm trying to do the place up. I want to bring it back to life and make it popular again, the way it used to be."

Mr Ali's representative, Bradford councillor Mohammed Amran, said that the previous management had "completely killed the business".

The hearing was told that Mr Ali had previously helped run Shalamar between 2005 and 2007, before splitting from his business partners. He has run next-door takeaway Jay Dee's ever since.

Coun Amran added: "When he used to be involved in Shalamar there were never any problems. Jay Dee's is in his name and there's never been any problems. He's a responsible individual.

"He can only apologise for the behaviour of his ex partners who've left him in this mess."

But the panel accepted the arguments of West Yorkshire Police, who said it "had no confidence" the takeaway would not be associated with disorder after a number of brushes with the law.

The bodycam footage from the November 24 visit showed one customer drunkenly confronting Police Sergeant Mark Thorold, who could then be heard telling the customer to, "Mind his own business."

After turning round to order a calzone from Mr Ali, the man could later be heard saying, with slurred speech, "Sorry boys".

Referring to the clip, PS Thorold said: "The premises has a long history, going back a number of years.

"In that time, the premises has developed a reputation for itself and officers have had to put up with people like this, behaving like this.

"It needs (a manager) with a serious intention to grip the place because if we continue to allow people to behave in that way, then we will be back here again."

Despite the panel rejecting the application, Shalamar can continue to open until 11pm.

Local Democracy Reporting Service