Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Wake Up Counzzzzillor!

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Wake Up Counzzzzillor!

Article excerpt

Byline: By Peter Young

A businessman involved in a licensing battle over a takeaway claims a councillor nodded off during his case.

Thariq Mohammed was seeking a 5am licence for Sajways in Waterloo Street, near Newcastle city centre.

The application, opposed by residents, was refused by members of the city council licensing sub-committee. Mr Mohammed is now appealing to the magistrates.

He claims one of the three-strong panel, later identified as Labour councillor Ruth Robson, appeared to nod off during the hearing. This will form part of his appeal.

However Coun Robson, who has been a member of the council for 15 years, replied that she was suffering from a headache. She closed her eyes after taking medication but did not fall asleep.

She explained she is diabetic adding: "I had been ill during the night. My blood sugar level had run very low and I had obviously taken action to rectify it.

"I had a bit of a headache and I took co-codamol tablets at lunchtime before the afternoon session of the meeting. I could feel it kicking in and closed my eyes.

"I did not miss any of the case. I closed my eyes but I don't think I nodded off. In my mind, I did not nod off. I closed my eyes but I was still listening to what was being said."

Mr Mohammed said one of her colleagues on the panel nudged her awake.

But Coun Robson, who represents Lemington and has been a councillor since 1990, said: "She put her arm on mine and asked if I was all right and I said `yes'."

Members of the sub-committee decided to grant a premises licence enabling Sajways to sell refreshments until midnight Sunday to Thursday and 2am Friday and Saturday.

Two other businesses, operated by Mr Mohammed from the same address, were also granted refreshment licences, the Convenience Store and Take Away until midnight and Manhattan's Snooker Club to 5am.

Sajways is due to open on Friday after refurbishment and Mr Mohammed says he will sell hot food during the permitted hours.

He will then sell cold snacks including pies, pizzas and sandwiches and hot drinks from a vending machine outside the licensed hours until his appeal is determined. …

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