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Owner of Bentley Fish Restuarant on Middlegate, Newark criticises Newark Town Council for its events business politics

A business owner has criticised a council for bringing in hire food vans from outside town during big events.

Paul Clarke, owner of Bentley Fish Restaurant, on Middlegate, Newark, has accused the council of harming his business.

He said every time an event takes place in the town centre, food vans are hired for the day, which takes business from local restaurants and cafes.

Bentley's Fish & Chips on Middlegate, Newark.
Bentley's Fish & Chips on Middlegate, Newark.

“At the Christmas lights switch-on I sold five fish and chips and made a loss as the vans are given a cheap option,” said Paul.

“They have no business rates and are given a prime location next to the events, so people won’t use local businesses.

“The food vans are the only winners, this massively undermines local businesses that sell food.”

Paul said a meeting with the council was in the pipeline to discuss the issue.

He suggested that a reduction in business rates, populating the market and not allowing food vans could help bring businesses to its glory during events in the town.

Bentley's Fish & Chips on Middlegate, Newark.
Bentley's Fish & Chips on Middlegate, Newark.
Bentley's Fish & Chips on Middlegate, Newark.
Bentley's Fish & Chips on Middlegate, Newark.

Mr Clarke said: “It is only affecting certain businesses as they don't have mobile designers' clothes vans in or other mobile works.

“I don't believe they even stop to think before they allow a fish and chip van in or similar, they only care about a quick few pounds to them.”

Paul said the council had a saturation policy and that they won’t put a Primark or McDonalds in the town centre to protect the smaller independent businesses, but he blamed them for impacting directly his business.

Despite his business being impacted by the food vans, he admits that the events in town were brilliant but they were quickly spoilt by businesses from outside Newark.

Newark town clerk Matthew Gleadell said the town and Newark and Sherwood district councils had tried to make contact with the business to discuss the issue.

“I have exchanged a number of emails with the business owner and continue to seek from the business owner confirmation of a suitable time to meet and discuss their concerns,” said Mr Gleadell.

He added: “I have provided an agenda for the meeting, which includes updating the business owner on local Towns Fund investment projects, and event operations as well as a discussion to share with the owner a variety of ideas they may wish to explore to help them increase trade at their business.

“As a council, we are very open to discussing with Bentleys how they can get involved in events and capitalise on higher footfall and as soon as the business owner confirms their availability that meeting will take place. The offer to meet virtually or in person has been provided.

“In considering this issue I consulted with colleagues who have worked at the town council and have been involved in events far longer than I have. None of them have any recollection of any previous contact from Bentleys expressing their concerns.”

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