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Taco Bell’s plan to open until 4am in Cambridge provokes concern from neighbours

Neighbours of a new Taco Bell in Cambridge have expressed alarm at its plans to open until 4am.

The takeaway chain will open its first branch in the city in Market Street at the former home of Kingdom of Sweets, which moved nearby to Lion Yard.

Taco Bell plans to open at 10 Market Street, Cambridge
Taco Bell plans to open at 10 Market Street, Cambridge

Planning permission for the Taco Bell signs was granted earlier this year, but now the company has made a licensing application to open until 4am from Monday to Sunday.

Neighbours have objected, raising concerns about the impact these hours would have on Market Passage.

One objector said: “My concern is that coupling a late night takeaway food offering, with a nightclub that will be ejecting their customers around 3am to 4am, will result in Market Passage becoming even more of an area for youths to congregate very late at night making a total mess of Market Passage.

“Market Passage has slowly started to shake off the reputation that it has in the past, and putting a 4am late night food establishment right next to it is going to cause massive disruption to all the residents of Market Passage and surrounding areas.

“There is already an issue with this area being an area for people being sick and urinating late at night, the last thing the area needs is another step down with a food establishment offering take away right next to Market Passage.

“I honestly cannot think of anything worse than Market Passage at 3am if this goes ahead.”

An owner of Mash Nightclub has also objected to the application, recognising that allowing the takeaway to open into the early hours could help their business, but citing safety concerns.

The business owner said: “Market Passage already has three late night businesses – ourselves, Ta Bouche and Town and Gown – and we work very closely together to ensure there is a safe environment for the large footfall that comes down the passageway.

“Taco Bell is only going to add to this footfall, thus, adding to potential issues in the area.

“Food establishments are not necessarily expected to provide security, so it would fall on other businesses to potentially deal with any problems that may be caused. This is obviously a concern for us.

A Taco Bell in Shanghai
A Taco Bell in Shanghai

“It is important to note that a late-night food establishment could actually help our business by increasing footfall to the area, but our concern is largely one of safety and practicality in the early hours of the morning and we urge the council to consider carefully the implications for the local area in this respect.”

Mash also had practical concerns about any outdoor seating provided by Taco Bell, and how it would impact the nightclub’s smoking area and the outdoor seating provided by Ta Bouche.

Taco Bell has agreed to a number of conditions setting out measures it would take to prevent any issues occurring.

These include installing CCTV and displaying signs reminding customers to “respect any residential neighbours and keep noise to a minimum”.

The company has also said the restaurant manager will join a pubwatch scheme, and that all customer-facing staff will be given training on conflict management resolution, welfare and vulnerability, including the ‘Ask for Angela’ safety initiative.

Licensed door staff are planned to be on site on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as bank holidays between 11pm and 4am.

The company added that the outdoor seating area would be monitored by staff to ensure no anti-social behaviour occurred, and said the public wifi on the premises would be switched off between 11pm and 4am, and that no music would be played during that time either.

Cambridge City Council’s licensing sub-committee is due to consider the application on Monday (October 10).

Update: Councillors rule on Taco Bell plans

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