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Police warn taxi firm’s bid for restaurant could create ‘flashpoint for disorder’

PUBLISHED: 11:57 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:16 06 February 2019

The unit on Prince of Wales Road which could be turned into a restaurant. Photo: Google

The unit on Prince of Wales Road which could be turned into a restaurant. Photo: Google

Archant

Police have objected to a taxi firm’s bid to create a restaurant underneath its waiting area, warning it could become a “flashpoint for disorder”.

Mark Streeter, managing director of Courtesy Taxis. 
PHOTO: SIMON FINLAYMark Streeter, managing director of Courtesy Taxis. PHOTO: SIMON FINLAY

In December, Courtesy Taxis submitted a premises licence to Norwich City Council relating to 77 Prince of Wales Road, which is next to its 50-seat waiting area.

They hope to turn it into a 56-cover eating area, serving hot food, snacks, sandwiches and non-alcoholic drinks.

With plans to open it around the clock, managing director Mark Streeter said it would serve businesses and walk-in customers in the day, taxi drivers, commuters and those waiting for a taxi in the city’s clubland.

But police have raised concerns about the bid, ahead of a meeting of the city council’s licensing sub committee, which will meet on Monday, February 11 to decide on its fate.

In a letter to the council, they said: “The granting of this licence could cause incidents of disorderly and violent behaviour both inside and outside the immediate vicinity of the premises due to the location and the timings requested to operate.

“The premises is located immediately next door to the Courtesy taxi rank on Prince of Wales Road, which already attracts large groups congregating outside waiting for taxis.”

MORE: Norwich taxi firm bids to open restaurant for drivers and customers

They said while there is generally a taxi marshal in the area on Friday and Saturday nights, there is often “a mass of people in this area blocking the path”.

“The operating of this takeaway will result in more patrons within the area, potentially turning this area into a flashpoint for disorder,” their letter said.

They said its 24-hour opening would give “no reason for patrons to head home”.

According to council papers, released ahead of Monday’s meeting, there have been no representations made by local residents.

Mr Streeter previously said the area would be a continuation of its “safe haven” office, where people are able to wait for taxis in a safe environment at the end of the night.

“Everybody comes out [at the end of the night] and all they want to do is eat and go home. We are the go home bit, and if we can do the eating bit too it means it will be one safe and controlled area for them to go,” he said.

• Do you have a Norwich story? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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