A PLAN to have topless women serving hamburgers opposite Carrington Public School at lunchtime has caused a bitter bunfight in the inner-city suburb.
Beth and Kevin Schell want to employ topless waitresses at their Young Street takeaway store to serve tradesmen on Fridays.
‘‘We are one of six takeaways in Carrington. Everyone is doing it tough and we are just trying to get ahead,’’ Mr Schell said yesterday. ‘‘Ninety per cent of our customers are tradesmen. We discussed it with them and they think it’s a great idea.’’
A special tradies’ $12 meal deal will be on offer between 10am and 2pm next Friday.
The store’s shutter windows will be closed and a double curtain put over the doorway to prevent schoolchildren and passers-by seeing inside.
Ms Schell, a mother of four daughters, said the women would be paid above award wages plus tips and would not be involved in food preparation.
‘‘It’s not going to be any different to what they have at the pub on a Friday night,’’ she said.
‘‘We get on well with the school and we are not expecting any problems.’’
Parents who spoke to the Newcastle Herald yesterday said they were appalled at the proposal.
The school’s P&C has written to the business requesting it to abandon its plans.
Potential exposure of children to the shop’s activities and its customers plus parking congestion are among their concerns.
‘‘There has got to be some sort of moral compass; having topless women across the road from the school is totally inappropriate,’’ parent and P&C member Belinda Epstein said.
She said the proposed activity was also likely to undo years of hard work to improve the suburb and the school’s image.
‘‘We are a different community than we used to be and this will drag us back into the past,’’ Ms Epstein said.
A Department of Education spokesman said the department was aware of the community’s concerns.
‘‘Schools are not in a position to intervene in community matters when an activity is legal and does not pose any direct threat to students,’’ he said.
A WorkCover spokesman said the business was not required to advise it of the proposed activity.
However, he said the NSW Work Health and Safety Act required a business owner to ensure, as far as practicable, a work place that was safe and without risks to the health and safety of workers.