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‘It’s the business it attracts’: kebab shop forced out after 30 years

PUBLISHED: 11:12 24 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:27 25 September 2020

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

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A kebab shop has been ordered out of a town after failing to meet a host of last-ditch conditions to extend the lease.

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

Thetford Kebab House, located at The Shambles market place, has officially closed after battling to stay where it has stood for more than 30 years.

It comes after owner Ahmed Farag received a six-month notice in February to leave the premises, owned by Thetford Town Council.

MORE: Town kebab shop given six months to quit building

After support from some of the community, Mr Farag decided to fight the council’s decision and was granted an extension to the lease for a year, subject to conditions.

Despite accepting the offer, Mr Farag was unable to complete work in the shop and provide the correct information before the cut-off date of August 31. On September 1, the lease was terminated.

Thetford Kebab House have closed after Thetford Town Council terminated the business's lease at The Shambles. Photo: Emily ThomsonThetford Kebab House have closed after Thetford Town Council terminated the business's lease at The Shambles. Photo: Emily Thomson

He said: “I had about a 10-day window to do everything they had asked for, including health and safety, and dilapidation reports, everything – some of which had to be done externally.

“Because of the coronavirus it’s difficult to get appointments with engineers: on one of the days the gas engineer didn’t even turn up. It was an impossible task.”

MORE: ‘Better to just leave’: Kebab shop owner slams council’s lifeline to save business

Thetford Town Council said discussions about the future of the units were set to take place, but there were no current plans.

A spokesman said: “A new lease was not issued and the former tenants are now clearing their effects from the property.”

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

Town councillor for the Castle Ward Roy Brame said after years of complaints from residents due to the late opening hours of the kebab shop, he was relieved to see them go.

He added: “The antisocial behaviour of his clientele over the years has given ward reps a headache. They would leave the night club and mill about the town centre at three or four in the morning.

“It’s not the business, it’s the business it attracts. We offered him a further year, so I think we were as fair as we could be.”

Mr Farag said it could not have come at a worse time. Now the 33-year-old said he was on the hunt for a new location in the town so he could carry on serving his “loyal customers”.

Thetford Town Councillor for the Castle Ward, Roy Brame. Photo: Emily ThomsonThetford Town Councillor for the Castle Ward, Roy Brame. Photo: Emily Thomson

The father-of-two added: “It’s been a really stressful time for me and it if it wasn’t for my family and customers, I couldn’t have got through it.

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“Because of the positive support, I want to stay in the town. I won’t find that kind of support anywhere else.”


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