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Town kebab shop given six months to quit building

PUBLISHED: 12:17 21 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:48 22 July 2020

Kebab shop owner, Ahmed Farag (right) and employee, Mohamed Abdelhafez (left).Thetford Kebab House is set to close after Thetford Town Council terminated the business's lease at The Shambles. Photo: Emily Thomson

Kebab shop owner, Ahmed Farag (right) and employee, Mohamed Abdelhafez (left).Thetford Kebab House is set to close after Thetford Town Council terminated the business's lease at The Shambles. Photo: Emily Thomson

Archant

A kebab shop could be forced to close after 30 years, having being given notice to quit by its town council landlord.

Kebab shop owner, Ahmed Farag (right) and employee, Mohamed Abdelhafez (left).Thetford Kebab House is set to close after Thetford Town Council terminated the business's lease at The Shambles. Photo: Emily ThomsonKebab shop owner, Ahmed Farag (right) and employee, Mohamed Abdelhafez (left).Thetford Kebab House is set to close after Thetford Town Council terminated the business's lease at The Shambles. Photo: Emily Thomson

The owner of Thetford Kebab House, located at The Shambles market place, has told of his “devastation” after he received a letter from Thetford Town Council, terminating his lease and giving him six months’ notice to leave.

Ahmed Farag, who has been running the kebab shop for six years, after taking over the business from his previous employer, said: “I haven’t received any reason why they want to terminate the lease. I have sent emails but they just said they have the right not to tell me.

“We signed a nine-year lease, which was breakable after six years – which I understand – but I just want to know what I have done wrong?

“This shop has existed here as a kebab shop for over 30 years. We don’t know if it’s because Wetherspoons moved in next door or they want to lease it to someone else?

Kebab shop owner, Ahmed Farag (left) and employee, Mohamed Abdelhafez (right).Thetford Kebab House is set to close after Thetford Town Council terminated the business's lease at The Shambles. Photo: Emily ThomsonKebab shop owner, Ahmed Farag (left) and employee, Mohamed Abdelhafez (right).Thetford Kebab House is set to close after Thetford Town Council terminated the business's lease at The Shambles. Photo: Emily Thomson

“But I’m afraid because this is my only source of money for me and my family and two other families.”

The town council said the decision was made by the Amenities Committee at a meeting last year.

A spokesman said: “Thetford Town Council is acting on the resolution of the Amenities Committee who decided at their October meeting 2019 to exercise their break clause in accordance with the terms of the lease.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further on what is essentially a commercial decision.”

Thetford Kebab House, located next to The Red Lion, Wetherspoons, is set to close after Thetford Town Council terminated the business's lease at The Shambles. Photo: Emily ThomsonThetford Kebab House, located next to The Red Lion, Wetherspoons, is set to close after Thetford Town Council terminated the business's lease at The Shambles. Photo: Emily Thomson

Mohamed Abdelhafez has been working at the kebab shop for 10 years and said the council’s decision, forcing them to move at such a difficult time, could close them for good.

The 43-year-old father-of-four said: “In Thetford every day a shop closes and another one opens. I have been here for a long time and everyone is struggling.

“They are trying to make people stay in the town – so why are you closing us?

“The business itself is very small but we have made a name for ourselves. You can’t move somewhere else and start from scratch – it takes a long time.

“Ahmed has been running it for six years, a lot of people know him and our customers become like family because it is a small town.”

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After receiving the letter from the town council back in February, Mr Ahmed has been told to leave the premises by September 1.


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