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'Don't make us new City Road' Community wants to curb more fast food outlets.

Byline: Brendan Hughes

HOMEOWNERS on a busy Cardiff street want saturation zone restrictions on licensed premises to be extended - due to fears of being overrun with late-night takeaways.

Business owners fear Whitchurch Road will "become the new City Road" as takeaway businesses shut out by the area's saturation zone spread north.

They say more takeaways on Whitchurch Road would increase crime and rubbish levels, hitting businesses currently operating on the street.

South Wales Police have been urged to look again at Whitchurch Road ahead of a formal request for an extension to the City/Crwys Road saturation zone.

Roland Palmer, who runs Devonia fish bar on Whitchurch Road, said his fish and chip shop could close if the zone placing limits on licensed premises was not extended.

"We're going to end up like City Road and it will be absolutely manic," said the 51-year-old dad of two, of Birchgrove.

"The crime will obviously rise and the rubbish is going to take off. There's just going to be rubbish everywhere and the council just don't really care."

Mr Palmer, a Gabalfa Pact committee member, added: "You will start to see businesses close - not just takeaways, but all of them."

Saturation zones in the city - introduced to combat crime, disorder and public nuisance - mean licence applications are presumed rejected in areas where there are several licensed premises.

The zones also make it harder for new and existing businesses to gain alcohol licences, as any plans trigger an automatic objection from the police.

In March last year, it was announced that no more restaurants and takeaways were allowed to open in City Road and Crwys Road in Roath after crime had surged by 20%.

Concerns over too many takeaways and other late-night venues on Whitchurch Road were raised at a Gabalfa Pact meeting earlier this month.

Gabalfa councillor Ed Bridges said residents "were concerned that Whitchurch Road might become the new City Road".

Coun Bridges said he would consider bringing forward a formal request for a Whitchurch Road saturation zone.

"When the saturation zone for Crwys Road and City Road was agreed, the Gabalfa community were quick to warn South Wales Police of a potential displacement of premises onto Whitchurch Road," he said.

"With a spate of recent applications for takeaways on the road, it seems this was quite prescient.

"I'd certainly want South Wales Police to look again at Whitchurch Road and bring forward a formal request for a saturation zone if the evidence supported it."

Householder Gareth Holden, who lives on Pen-y-Bryn Road, said: "A few restaurants and takeaways are welcome in any area - but there needs to be a balance if Whitchurch Road is to remain a thriving shopping area during the day.

"No-one is against high-quality restaurants, but you only have to look at City Road to see that too many takeaways can cause problems."

Earlier this month, councillors moved to introduce saturation zones at city centre nightlife hotspots Greyfriars Road and Churchill Way. Police figures show violent crimes increased by 387% on Greyfriars Road in two years - from 53 cases in 2008/09 to 258 last year.

This increase coincides with the introduction of the capital's first saturation zone, on St Mary Street. Reported violent incidents there have dropped from 883 in 2007/08 to 385 last year.

But a bid for a zone in Pontcanna was rejected in early December after police said crime rates were not high enough.

CAPTION(S):

Crwys Road * Roland Palmer, owner of the Devonia chip shop, wants a limit on the number of licensed premises on Whitchurch Road
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 30, 2011
Words:596
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