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City kebab van faces the chop
KEBAB van owners who were given a final warning over the state of their business face losing their street trading licence.
Brother and sister Mehdi and Wadeya Karrouchi, who have run “Mehdi’s” in Oxford’s High Street since 2011, will appear before councillors next week after an inspection revealed hygiene issues and false records.
An employee at the van is also being investigated by the immigration authorities as a result of the check.
Council officer Samantha Howell visited the van after members of the authority’s licensing and enforcement committee called for an inspection at the end of October.
During a meeting on October 29, the owners were told they were “drinking at the last-chance saloon” after hygiene concerns were raised.
But a report by Miss Howell following her visit to the van on November 14 revealed continuing problems.
Miss Howell said: “Working on the vehicle that evening was Mr Huseyin Cacan who is a registered employee and Mr Bilal Ali who is not a registered employee.
“Mr Bilal Ali submitted a registered employee application to miscellaneous licensing on August 9, 2012. Unfortunately Mr Bilal Ali could not be authorised as his UK Border Agency residence permit expired on March 15, 2012.
“During the inspection Mr Cacan produced his Safer Food Better Business pack to evidence that he is now completing and recording temperature checks.
“However Mr Cacan had falsified these records as the temperature for November 15, 2012, had already been entered and the inspection took place on November 14.”
Miss Howell added: “The fire blanket was kept in a cupboard which is not good practice and no fire extinguisher was available as per the conditions of consent.”
City councillor for Holywell ward Mark Mills, who is a former student of St Edmund Hall, based in High Street, said it wasn’t fair if some traders were bringing down the reputation of others. He said: “I was a student of a college on High Street so I used kebab vans quite a few times in the past, and the food you get from them is generally quite good.
“They do have a reputation problem, which by and large is undeserved, so if one trader is bringing down that reputation, that clearly isn’t fair and the council should do something about it.”
At the committee meeting next Monday at the Town Hall, the committee may choose to revoke the Karrouchis’ licence or carry on monitoring them.
A report to the committee said: “Street traders cannot be said to enjoy security of tenure.
“There is no legitimate expectation in law that a consent will be indefinitely renewed and there is no requirement for the council to give compensation for the loss of any consent.”
The report added: “Any decision to revoke a consent or refuse a renewal application must be proportionate taking into account all relevant circumstances and the applicants, or consent holder’s, right to a fair hearing.”