By Adrian Zorzut, Local Democracy Reporter
Popular pizza joint Papa Johns lost a bid to stay open untill 1am during a marathon five-hour meeting with residents.
The pizza chain promised to shut its Walham Grove shop in Fulham to customers from 11pm and run deliveries until close but it wasn’t enough to ease residents’ concerns about noise and anti-social behaviour.
Some 21 residents joined Tuesday night’s virtual licensing meeting held by Hammersmith and Fulham council that tested concentration spans.
One woman was seen clutching her hair when the applicant’s lawyer, Walaiti Rathore, was given 57 minutes to respond to allegations almost four hours into the licensing meeting.
It was claimed 50 residents opposed Papa Johns’ application which initially wanted to run 24 hours a day.
Residents claimed they had lost sleep and were fed up with Papa Johns’ pizza boxes ending up in their front gardens. They also claimed data protection laws were being broken by delivery dockets with customers’ personal details being left scattered along the gutter.
One resident said: “This is a residential street. We do not want disturbance all night… We already have enough mopeds. We just cannot cope anymore.”
The mum of a teenage daughter described how it is“extremely intimidating” to walk past drivers outside Papa Johns.
She said: “I have a soon-to-be 16 year old. There are other young females on the road. Even myself, I don’t particularly like it as their mum. It is a particularly intimidating group of men that are looking you up and down.”
Papa Johns regional operations manager, Richard Campbell, said the shop was under new management since a take-over in June and was keen to engage residents more.
He said: “We are working tirelessly to be the best business we can be. There is a long road ahead but we’re continuing to improve the business, the processes and the way we do things.”
Mr Rathore claimed some of the allegations were “unsubstantiated” or “misleading”. He also claimed the police have not received a single complaint from residents about its drivers.
He said: “Papa Johns has an excellent working relationship with the relevant authorities.”
But councillors disagreed and shared concerns about the way Papa Johns monitors delivery drivers and if the company had improved its operation since a similar application was rejected in February.
Councillor Ben Coleman said: “I think we again have a situation where we wish Papa Johns to reassure us all before it puts in an application for extended hours, that it’s capable of operating the place better than at the moment and until it shows us and demonstrates to us then we are back where we were in February and I ask the committee to reject this application.”
Mr Rathore said this application offered ‘litter patrols’ and promised to make its own drivers wait inside the premises after 11pm.
Chair of the committee, councillor Paul Alexander, said: “The residents are frightened.
“They don’t have a problem with your pizza, they have a problem with your delivery bikes and I really don’t think that’s coming across for now.
“The Committee has decided, after taking into account all of the individual circumstances of this case and the promotion of the four licensing objectives to reject the application.”
Pictured top: Papa Johns on the corner of Walham Grove and Vanston Place (Picture: Google Street View)
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