I lost the battle but won the war

KEBABS are back on the menu for a takeaway owner who took his food fight to the High Court – despite him losing.

Kettering Kebab House can sell hot food again almost four years after it was banned by Kettering Council as a High Court ruling shows owner Resul Altunkaynak had the necessary planning permission all along.

Mr Altunkaynak, 47, said: “It’s good for my customers, it’s good for Kettering Kebab House and it’s good for me that planning permission is valid and we are going to reopen in the same condition as before.”

Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Maddison said the council was right to prosecute Mr Altunkaynak for repeatedly breaching the ban and refused to make Northamptonshire magistrates hear an appeal, meaning he lost the case.

But the detailed ruling said the council were wrong to make the banning order because Mr Altunkaynak had planning permission to sell hot food – and the council has confirmed he is free to sell kebabs again.

Father-of-three Mr Altunkaynak will appeal against his £15,000 fine and the £1,515 costs her was ordered to pay for breaching the order at Northampton Crown Court in May.

The council’s principal solicitor Geoff Hollands said: “Where we are now, we need to deal with the fine he has to pay, but he can now sell hot food from the premises.

“There is a technical proceeding but the fact of the matter says he has permission to sell hot food from the premises.

“From a technical point of view it’s highly likely in light of the judgement of the High Court that the council would come to the conclusion that there is no public interest in prosecution.”

If Mr Altunkaynak had appealed the notices banning him from selling hot food in November 2008 and ordering him to close his shop in January 2009, a court would probably have ruled in his favour and lifted the ban.

But his determination to serve his loyal customers, more than 1,000 of who signed a petition to keep him open, forced a two-year court battle that went to one of the highest courts of the land.

Mr Altunkaynak said: “I feel happy I can keep my business open. For Kettering town I’m very happy.

“We don’t want to see closed shops in Kettering. We want to see all the shops open.”