A CHAI cafe will not be able to open for 24 hours a day after a committee refused to issue a new licence.

During a discussion on whether to allow Cha Cha Chai on Ingleby Road to open well past its current 11pm closing time, members of Bradford Council’s Licensing Committee heard how the area had been plagued by anti-social behaviour, traffic congestion and littering.

Although the owner of the business told members Cha Cha Chai could not be blamed for all of these problems, committee members refused the licence.

Nasar Nabi, owner of the business, told the committee that the cafe had proved popular with late night delivery drivers and taxi drivers, and this had led to the plans to stay open throughout the night.

The Committee, which met online on Tuesday, heard that there had been objections to the licence from the Council’s Environmental Health and Traffic and Enforcement officer, as well as a local Councillor.

The cafe, a converted shipping container, is based in the car park of a food hall on Ingleby Road that is home to numerous other food businesses.

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Officers told the committee that there had been complaints about noise at the site, concerns over the amount of traffic, particularly on bank holidays, and reports of anti social behaviour and littering.

Mr Nabi said it would be “unfair” to link these issues to his business, claiming much of the anti-behaviour was linked to the nearby car park of Morrisons.

He also pointed out that a shisha lounge on the same site was behind many of the issues, but that this business had closed in February.

Mr Nabi added: “It is unfair to say the anti-social behaviour is the responsibility of Cha Cha Chai, you can’t tar me with the same brush as everyone else.”

He told members three marshals worked for the business at peak times to control customers, and a drive thru system was being developed to control traffic.

Explaining why he wanted to open late, he said a late opening was key to capturing the taxi driver market, a market he claimed takeaways like McDonalds and KFC were already able to cater to with extended opening hours.

He added: “Why should I not be allowed to tap into that market?”

When asked about the potential that the changes could lead to more littering, he said: “It is not fair to say my customers are picking up drinks and throwing them out of their cars.”

He told members that between the business opening in 2018 and 2020 the cafe did open 24 hours. Asked how he did this without a licence Mr Mabi replied: “Being frank and honest, I didn’t think I needed one.” He acknowledged that the business had been operating unlawfully in this period.

Environmental Health officer Carol Williamson said that due to concerns over the food court, a community protection notice had been handed to every business on the site preventing vehicular access between 11,30pm until 7am.

The Bradford West Area Co-Ordinator, who took the unusual step of not identifying themselves during the meeting, told members the businesses on the site had a “symbiotic relationship” - and visitors could have a three course meal and a hot drink by visiting the different units.

She said the shisha lounge to the rear of the site, which had been opened without planning permission, had been advertising on social media that it was only “temporarily” closed - hinting the problems may return.

Her representation to the meeting had said: “Once the car park is full, inconsiderate parking on the main road and side streets has led to putting general members of the public, customers and pedestrians at danger.”

She told the meeting traffic had become so bad on some occasions that sections of Ingleby Road had to be closed off.

She added: “We had to do this to manage the safety of residents and road users. They don’t realise how precarious their behaviour is. No matter the amount of stewarding or marshalling you put into that location, the fact is it is too small for the amount of people that visit it.”

When asked by members how much the issue of litter could be linked to this business, she said: “We see a lot of cups and paraphernalia that are easily identifiable as coming from Cha Cha Chai.”

She felt a 24 hour licence would attract an “unsuitable clientele” and dealing with any issues caused by the extended opening hours would prove a cost to the public purse.

Mr Nabi pointed out that the area had a high crime rate despite his business, and was “rife with crime and rife with anti-social behaviour.”

He suggested that if the shisha bar does re-open the Council “should come down on them like a tonne of bricks.”

After a deliberation, the committee decided to refuse the application, saying it would not meet three licensing objectives - the prevention of crime and disorder, the prevention of public nuisance and maintaining public safety.