- The pair were fined 258 pounds each, ordered to pay 500 pounds costs each, and a 30 pounds victim surcharge
- Some residents had complained that the smell of spicy food from the restaurant's kitchen got in through their windows and was overpowering
Middlesbrough Council fined Khushi Indian Buffet Restaurant owners Shabana and Mohammed Khushi after the establishment sent aromas of 'biryanis' and 'bhajis' filtering through the area.
According to the local authority, the Linthorpe restaurant was lacking a 'sufficient filtration system'. A handful of locals had been complaining about the smells, which led to the council's decision, the Gazette Live reported. Khushi, which serves Punjabi dishes and was based in the Red Rose pub, was set in a built-up residential area alongside other businesses.
At Teesside Magistrates' Court last week, District Judge Kristina Harrison heard from a council prosecutor that some residents had complained that the smell of spicy food from the restaurant's kitchen got in through their windows and was overpowering. It was alleged the smells were so strong, it left them needing to wash their clothes. The pair were fined 258 pounds each, ordered to pay 500 pounds costs each, and a 30 pounds victim surcharge.
Defence solicitor Neil Douglas, however, said that because the business had moved into a former pub building, no variation of planning permission was needed and therefore the Khushis were never made aware of the type of filters they needed. In letters written to a judge, some local businesses and councillors supported the restaurant, saying they have never had a problem with curry smells on the road. A company which specialises in fitting out Asian restaurants installed the kitchen in 2015, leading the couple to believe they had the right equipment.
The pair, joint directors in the business, have already upgraded their filtration system, but face another 3,500 pounds to 4,500 pounds bill to complete the work. Shabana, 42, speaking after the case, was quoted as saying, "We are relieved that it's all over, but we feel let down by the council. We’ve tried to be a good neighbour but we feel we've been targeted by a small minority of people. Others have said they can't smell anything until they're inside the restaurant," she said.
Mohammed, 46, said, "It has been very stressful. We have had this hanging over us, and we will also have the fine hanging over us and when you start a business, you're trying everything you can to be a success." The Khushis, however, had admitted failing to comply with an abatement notice, which aimed to stop "cooking odours being emitted by the extraction system at said premises, in order to prevent nuisance being caused to neighbouring occupiers", between March and September last year.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:41 PM IST