Matki Chai row spreads to taxis

Matki Chai row spreads to taxis

By Gareth Dennison | 27/08/2020

Matki Chai row spreads to taxis


A TAXI licensing case was postponed because the driver did not turn up — saying he was “not comfortable” with RMBC’s decision on Matki Chai.

The fallout continues from the refusal of opening hours to 2am at weekends for the Eastwood eatery, which has led to accusations of council racism.

The taxi case for a Mr Shafiq was set to be heard online on Monday by a licensing board sub-committee.

But the driver did not show — and GMB union rep Nasser Raoof said: “We are not dealing with the licensing board.”

During the meeting, Tom Smith, the council’s assistant director for community safety, said: “We received an email over the weekend from [Mr Shafiq’s] representative, saying that he isn’t currently comfortable coming n front of the licensing board given some of the complaints that have been made.

“He is therefore asking for this case to be postponed.”

Sub-committee member Cllr Brian Steele said he was unhappy at the cabby’s absence from the meeting.

He added: “Just saying that he’s not comfortable and then not turning up, I don’t think that’s a good enough excuse.

“If he had got a medical appointment or something like that, but just say you’re not comfortable? How many times can you say you’re not comfortable with something?”

Licensing chairman Cllr Sue Ellis told those present: “I think most of you will know that there are complaints, and that emanated from the decision some weeks ago which is now being appealed and going to court.

“My view is that we are meeting as a committee, we have had legal advice about that and have decided to continue during this time until matters are resolved.

“I think we should postpone but be quite clear that we will be having the meeting to consider his case, give him a day and say if he is not in attendance we will continue to hear it.”

Matki Chai, on Fitzwilliam Road, is allowed to operate until 11pm under the licensing conditions. Its cabin was refused planning permission earlier this month.

Founder and manager Khurrum Bhatti has argued that RMBC giving more support to the venture would help address the problems in Eastwood.

A second taxi case was postponed at the same sub-committee meeting this week because the driver, a Mr Wilson, said he had only received paperwork two days earlier.

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