A POPULAR kebab van is battling the borough council over their right to sell late-night snacks to the people of Wokingham.
BBQ King — which trades from the Wokingham Youth and Community Centre car park on Reading Road — has been blocked from entering the site after a barrier was installed at the entrance.
Kenan Nursalson, who has run the van for the last 29 years moved to the car park location in 2017, after being given permission by the borough council. It had previously been in a bus stop outside the centre.
But the borough council says that Mr Nursalson never had the right to trade from his new pitch.
Colin George, who helps run the Wokingham Business Association, disputes this.
Three years ago, Mr George helped Mr Nursalson to gain permission to trade in the youth centre car park.
At the time, he was a town councillor for Norreys Ward.
Mr George said: “I’ve got over 200 emails relating to Mr Nursalson, and the council giving him permission to use the car park.
“Some 30-odd people were included in these, including councillors, executive members and the borough council’s chief executive.
“The then chief executive, Andy Couldrick was the one who suggested Mr Nursalson move to the youth centre car park.
“You can’t get much higher up than that.”
Mr George is frustrated with “how dysfunctional Wokingham Borough Council is”.
He claims that the issue comes from various departments in the borough council not communicating to each other.
“This falls under two different departments, estates management and licensing,” he explained. “All departments aside from estates fed into the consultation for permission.
“They’re trying to stop renewing his license because the landowner no longer gives permission — but the council owns the land. And they put him there.
“It’s frustrating to deal with the borough council because their internal communication systems are non-existent.”
Mr George explained how the borough council had served a notice to Mr Nursalson to stop trading, under the Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1982.
“They only gave him five days notice. But in the Act, councils must give seven days notice and the right to appeal. It’s as if they’ve never read it.
“They just want to run him out of town. The council has tried to find ways to get rid of him.
“There’s a right and a wrong way to do things.
“I will do what is right, and they don’t like that.
“But this is the way the council operates.
“How can they say they never gave him permission to trade?”
Cllr Wayne Smith, executive member for planning and enforcement, said: “A car park in a community centre used by families and children hasn’t worked as a home for the burger van.
“We’ve given Mr Nursalson sufficient time to find a different location and looked among our portfolio of properties to see if he could move elsewhere, but couldn’t find anywhere that would work.
“The new height barriers are there to control vehicle access in and out of the site.
“We’ll continue to liaise with Mr Nursalson to find a satisfactory solution.”