It seems whenever a shop in my local high street becomes empty it shortly re-opens as some form of late night fried chicken or other takeaway outlet.
It’s not just their obvious conflict with the ever-present health and anti-obesity campaigns, or the unlikelihood of the chicken’s pre-fried welfare being much of a consideration anywhere in the supply chain which make these places so objectionable.
Open till late, lacking any security screening and staffed at the most minimal level they routinely become the focus for groups of aggressive youths who cause a nuisance to passersby and other patrons.
In a recent extreme case Kensington and Chelsea Council recently revoked the late trading licence of one Chicken Cottage shop after police were called to 70 incidents in a year. (Toby Harris makes an observation about the gang’s choice of name).
By granting these late licences in the first place councils increase the number of hotspots for anti-social behaviour and make their areas more intimidating for the majority and few boroughs seem to operate any rationing of these licences.
The end result makes a mockery of the millions spent on designing crime out of housing estates and a urban regeneration initiatives. With the recession biting there’s a danger that more of these troublespots will open on the capital’s high street.