Campaigner Victoria Gillick targets Wisbech kebab shop

Plans to extend licensing hours prompt a dossier of complaint

Campaigner Victoria Gillick is taking on the authorities again - this time it's a local kebab shop in her sights.

Mrs Gillick, who took a fight on providing contraception to teenage girls to the House of Lords almost 30 years years ago, is trying to block extended licensing hours at a takeaway near her Wisbech home.

The mother-of-ten spent a total of almost two months sleeping in an unheated studio at her home to compile a dossier on the activity of Best Kebab, on Nene Quay, which wants to alter its licensing provision.

Mrs Gillick claims the shop causes disturbance in the area into the early hours and said police had been called to the premises at least seven times for violent incidents.

Her dossier of evidence was compiled after she kept watch on the takeaway between August 6 last year and March 19 this year.

Members of Fenland District Council's Licensing Committee met on Tuesday when Mrs Gillick outlined her objections to the application.

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'Those who live in Wisbech know that the Nene Quay is not very far from the other side of the river.

'The disturbance caused to my family is not a matter of distance. We are not objecting to Best Kebab as a premises, we are objecting to noise in the early hours of the morning,' she said.

Members decided to visit the shop, owned by Jack Dennis, before making a decision on his application.

The owner wants to extend opening hours to 3.30am Friday and Saturday; 2am Monday to Thursday and 1am on Sundays. He also wants to be able to sell alcohol from the premises until midnight Sunday to Wednesday and 1am Thursday to Saturday.

He also proposes to remove conditions linking the sale of alcohol to food - effectively becoming an off-licence.

Justin Shale, representing Mr Dennis, told councillors that it was arguable whether Mrs Gillick lived in the vicinity as her house was on the other side of the River Nene.

But Mrs Gillick argued that the fact she was the other side of the river did not mean there was no disturbance from the shop or those who used it.

Councillors elected to visit the site to decide whether Mrs Gillick's objections could be considered.

She said: 'I had seven months of every weekend - apart from Christmas - sleeping on the sofa to monitor the place. It was so cold in the room I was scraping ice off the inside of the windows.

'It would be a tremendous blow if this went through. It would mean another summer of deeply disturbed sleep over the weekends.'

Mrs Gillick hit the headlines in the 1980s when a Government circular issued advice on the prescribing of the contraception pill to the under-16s without their parents knowing, to which she was vehemently opposed.

Her battle reached the House of Lords which gave a ruling known as the Gillick Competence which applies to the competency of an under-16 to make decisions on their own medical treatment without parental consent.

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