It’s become much harder to get a kebab at 4am in Newcastle, thanks to the discovery of a 26-year-old development application.
Three popular late night takeaway outlets in Hamilton have been forced to close early, leaving business owners unable to take advantage of their busiest periods.
It came after the discovery of a 1991 DA that showed three of the five outlets in the Oasis food court – on the corner of Beaumont and Cleary streets – were legally supposed to close by 10pm on weekdays, midnight on Saturdays and 8pm on Sundays.
The outlets are well known to be open until 5am and are popular among shift workers and hungry punters looking for food at the end of a night out. Police last month ordered the Oasis kebab, pizza and pide stores to close early, after the DA was discovered.
Newcastle Chief Inspector Trevor Shiels confirmed officers had ordered the businesses to shut after police became aware they were operating outside their legal hours.
The Newcastle Herald understands the business owners, who have operated at the site for many years, were unaware of the trading restrictions. They now have to submit an application to Newcastle City Council before they can resume their late trade.
Trading outside authorised hours can attract a minimum fine of $6000.
When approached by The Herald, the business owners said they would not comment until after a meeting with council and police representatives on Friday.
The Herald understands NSW Police is not the consent authority for late trade in this case. Though it’s unclear whether council will approve the late trade application without police support.
Chief Inspector Shiels said officers had a keen eye on the Beaumont Street area after several violent incidents in the entertainment precinct in recent months.
In January, an off-duty police officer was allegedly assaulted while sitting in a car at traffic lights on Beaumont Street.
In June, footage of a wild street brawl in the middle of the road at the intersection of Beaumont and Cleary streets made national headlines.
“Any applications will be viewed by council,” Chief Inspector Shiels said.
“Our objective is public safety.
“[Beaumont Street] has been an ongoing trouble spot for years in terms of being a late night environment.
“For us, it’s about the congregation of people in an intoxicated state.
“It’s been problematic, that’s why we’ve been looking at the area.”
Chief Inspector Shiels said on Monday police had not decided whether or not they would support an application for the three businesses to officially extend their trading hours.
When asked about the Oasis development application, Newcastle City Council advised the Herald that it would have to submit a freedom of information request to obtain the information.
The council would not comment on the matter, given police were involved.
Hamilton Business Chamber president Nathan Errington said the chamber had been made aware of the issue.
“The chamber is working with all the key stakeholders regarding the issue and we have more to say in the near future,” Mr Errington said.