Licence review for Hitchin's Chicken George after neighbour complaint

Outside Chicken George in Hitchin

The premises licence for Chicken George in Bancroft, Hitchin, is under review following a complaint from a neighbour - Credit: Maya Derrick

The premises licence for Chicken George in Hitchin's Bancroft is under review after a neighbour complained about litter, noise, "traffic dangers" and the "potential for public disorder".

A man who lives in Ransom Yard in Bancroft has applied to North Herts Council to have the takeaway restaurant's licence reviewed on the grounds of public safety, prevention of crime and disorder, and prevention of public nuisance.

He said: "Since the restaurant opened [in 2020], the residents who live in Ransom Yard have had continual difficulties in the evenings, particularly over weekends, accessing and leaving the driveway because Chicken George clientele park in front of the entrance gates, despite a number of warning signs and double yellow lines."

He said Chicken George customers also park in the nearby taxi rank, "preventing the taxis from being able to queue to collect fares".

The disgruntled neighbour said: "The litter and noise created during the busy periods has caused other neighbours sleepless nights, and the smell of the frying oil for nearby residents is awful."

The restaurant owners "have done nothing to help dissuade their clientele from parking illegally and blocking driveways, and their clientele, often from outside Hitchin, have been aggressive when asked to move", he said.

He concluded: "I request the licence granted be reviewed and cancelled and alternative premises with local parking be found, as this restaurant is creating public nuisance, traffic dangers, parking violations, and potential for public disorder."

Most Read

Dozens of people have taken to social media in support of Chicken George. One said: "Chicken George is an asset to Hitchin" and "puts Hitchin on the map".

Another said: "You don't move to a town centre only to complain about the town centre noise and facilities."

A third said: "If they are asked to leave, it's likely another food business will open. I can't see where they think this will improve their situation as residents. Maybe a campaign for better parking would be a better use of time."

Chicken George managing director Chris Cheah said: "We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received on social media since this review was announced.

"We are very disappointed to have this review as we feel we have had a very positive impact on the town since we opened by supporting local charities, employing lots of local people and bringing custom to Hitchin.

"We have, unfortunately, been battling a small number of local residents since before we even opened our doors and have never been welcomed by them.

"The issues raised in the review are either out of our control, such as the parking problems along Bancroft or simply not true as we have never had any aggressive customers or had the police out to deal with any issues. In fact, both the police and council have told us on several occasions that we aren’t doing anything wrong.

"This hate campaign has caused my family and I lots of stress when all I’m trying to do is run a good food establishment for Hitchin.

"We are a family run independent business who are trying our best to bring some good food and vibes to an amazing town and unfortunately a small number of local residents seem determined to make our life difficult.

"Thankfully the majority of Hitchin have embraced us and we look forward to serving the great people of this town for many years to come!"

A public consultation to inform the premises licence review ends on June 29. To have your say, visit tinyurl.com/2p8aakfn.