‘With hindsight, the council shouldn’t have let kebab van use Youth Centre car park’

BBQ King
The team from BBQ King kebab van Picture: Phil Creighton

“WITH HINDSIGHT, the council shouldn’t have given consent for the kebab van to use the car park.”

Safeguarding concerns have been cited by Wokingham Borough Council as the reason that a popular institution can no longer serve late-night food from a van in a youth centre car park.

Yesterday, Wokingham.Today revealed that the licensing sub-committee of the council had ruled that BBQ King van would not have its street trading consent license renewed, following an appeal hearing on Thursday, June 11.

The van has been a fixture of Reading Road for nearly 30 years, and, in 2016, moved from a site near the bus stop opposite St Paul’s Church into the car park of the Wokingham Youth and Community Centre.

Wokingham Borough Council held part of the hearing behind closed doors, and said in a statement that the refusal followed concerns raised by both “police and child welfare experts” about the van’s location.

READ MORE: Councillor ‘deeply disappointed’ at decision not to grant kebab van street trading licence

It adds that during the council’s children safeguarding team established the car park wasn’t tenable – a position echoed by police which raised its safeguarding concerns at the appeal hearing. However, this evidence was not heard in the public part of meeting.

Issues raised included public urination and drunken customers – both of which were disputed by van owner Kenan Mursaloglu.

“A youth centre used by young people into the evening is obviously not the right place for a late-night burger and kebab van, so we’ve had to stop it operating there,” said executive member for environment and leisure, Cllr Parry Batth.

“With hindsight, the council shouldn’t have given consent to use the car park.

“I wasn’t involved back then yet my understanding is that we did so to help the business after the van’s previous location was a danger to traffic.

“But all businesses need to operate in the right place and I think it’s fair to say a late-night burger and kebab van has more constraints than others.

“It may be possible to find an alternative location, but it needs to be suitable for this sort of businesses.”

Best BBQ
The three spaces that BBQ King traded from in the Wokingham Youth and Community Centre car park Picture: Phil Creighton

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