Campaigner’s right to object is questioned by barrister

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FENLAND’s Licensing Panel is to stage a site meeting to decide whether or not a Wisbech woman lives close enough to a kebab shop to have her objections heard.

Well-known Wisbech campaigner Victoria Gillick submitted a detailed 43-page dossier highlighting issues in a bid to block an application by Jack Dennis to extend opening hours at his Best Kebab premises in Nene Quay.

But a barrister hired by Mr Dennis for Tuesday afternoon’s Licensing hearing disputed whether Mrs Gillick’s complaints could be considered.

He argued, using a little known Derbyshire case law, that because she lived on the opposite side of the River Nene she was not in the vicinity of the kebab shop.

“It is always interesting when you try to argue against a barrister - they are basically a hired gun - and you never know which hip they are going to be firing from. In this case it was a piece of law that was completely new to everyone,” said Mrs Gillick, who camped out on a sofa to keep watch and compile her dossier over a seven month period.

The hearing lasted about half an hour and resulted in the panel made up of councillors Michael Humphries, Bernard Keane and Carol Cox deciding to stage a site visit to determine whether or not Mrs Gillick does live in the ‘vicinity’.

“It seems ridiculous that because I live on the other side of the river, my objections don’t count. But we still suffer noise disruption and the light is so bright from the kebab shop you could almost read by it in my kitchen.

“In fact I would say I live so close you could throw a stone from my garden and hit the kebab shop on the other side,” said Mrs Gillick.

The site visit will be held on Wednesday June 22 and the panel will visit both the kebab shop and Mrs Gillick’s home to see the situation for themselves.

“I just hope the councillors see sense and agree that my objections can be heard - if not then there will be no hearing and we will face continued noise disturbance.

“I have made it clear we are not objecting to the premises, we are just objecting to the extension of the licensing hours,” added Mrs Gillick, who claims her objections stem from alleged continued breaches of the current licensing hours.