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Kebab van ban near schools aims to skewer possible problems
KEBAB and burger vans could soon be banned from operating near to schools or colleges – despite none currently doing so.
Oxford City Council is introducing a new policy on street trading that is to go out for public consultation.
It includes the new rule that will prevent street traders selling hot or cold food from operating within 100 metres of a school between 7.30am and 6pm.
But the city council has admitted not a single trader would be affected by this change.
The proposal comes after parents objected to plans for a burger van outside Cheney School in Headington last year, for fear pupils might eat too much junk food.
City councillor Colin Cook, the executive board member for city development, said: “We had a few problems with the van at Cheney.
“It is about not necessarily wanting children to eat junk food which many of these vans provide.
“What they provide is fine in small quantities.
“There is no harm in that, but our fear is that children without parental control or school control might use such vans on a regular basis and that’s why we don’t want them in close proximity to schools.”
When asked why the city council was introducing this rule despite it not affecting a single trader, Mr Cook said: “It is about planning ahead.
“We did have an issue with a trader outside Cheney School so it is to try to head off any similar problems which may occur in the future.
“We don’t want to see the same thing happen again elsewhere.”
But Hooshang Kaveh, who has been running a kebab van in St Aldate’s for 25 years, said: “At the moment most kebab vans are interested in night time trading. I wouldn’t be interested in opening during the day.
“Some people think it is easy to do this job and you can just put burgers in a van and sell them to children, but that’s not right.”
Last July, Cheney School headteacher Jolie Kirby complained to the city council after the burger van, called First Class Diner run by Mehmet Yilmaz, set up outside the school. Her complaint was followed by 32 others from teachers, parents and nutritionists.
Mr Yilmaz no longer trades in Oxford, the city council has said.
Euton Daley, whose three children have gone to Cheney, said: “I think it is a very good plan, if the school is doing its bit in terms of what they are serving from the canteen. I am not against people eating what they choose to eat but if something is always in your face you might be pressured into having it.”
The proposals will also mean drinks or confectionery will not be allowed to be sold within 100 metres of a school boundary.
The draft policy was approved last night by the general purposes licensing committee and will now go out for consultation.
Committee member Gwynneth Royce raised concerns about the limit.
She said: “I wouldn’t want to say 100m, I would want to say on the school route, which strikes me as a more common sense approach.”
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