Has Sharkie had his chips?

A trader last night hit out at local businesses in a Northumberland market town for trying to block his late night takeaway van plan.

A trader last night hit out at local businesses in a Northumberland market town for trying to block his late night takeaway van plan.

Paul Barrass, owner of the Sharkies food van which operates in the centre of Alnwick, has put a bid to trade until 2.45am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

But, in a row which echoes the dispute last year over a chip van in Corbridge, other business say his takeaway is a risk to the town's prosperity.

Mr Barrass says he has already changed his location in Bondgate Within to distance it from The White Swan Hotel and the Tower Restaurant - which also has rooms.

But Tower owner Roy Hardy complained to Alnwick District Council, saying the van threatens the town's tourist trade.

In a letter to the licensing sub-committee's, which will discuss the application on Friday, he says the van already causes "disturbance to my residents and customers - bad language and noise from drunken youths gathering in the street in the early hours of the morning. It creates an overall bad impression for visiting tourists staying at my premises and at the White Swan Hotel

"Please do not under-estimate my concerns.

"It is not just damaging the trade of one business, but key businesses supplying the tourist trade in the town - a trade we are all trying so hard to build on."

Mr Barrass, who lives in Lynemouth, near Morpeth, already operates from 10pm to 12.30am.

He says town centre pubs are now open until 2am at weekends and he could make a lot more money by selling to late-night revellers.

He said: "We have been trading for two-and-a-half years and there has never been a problem.

"We have moved so far away from the residences that you would not be heard if you shouted.

"There is a bit of snobbery in the town towards us, with people saying they don't want us here, but I just can't understand why."

White Swan manager Ian Grant added: "We were receiving complaints because of the proximity of the van and disturbances - they have moved slightly down the road and there have been less problems, but it's still a concern. This is not the sort of thing we are happy seeing in Alnwick, and certainly a lot of the complaints we have had from customers and from other publicans are along those lines."

The District Council confirmed they had received a letter of objection.

They have imposed a number of conditions on the licence application, including a responsibility on Mr Barrass to make sure noise, disorder and litter are kept to a minimum.

They will decide whether to grant a licence on Friday.

Mr Hardy refused to comment further last night.


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