Thai takeaway baffled by Bideford Quay wait

Sarah and Phansit Srisaeng are disappointed after waiting so long to gain a licence to sell food once a week on Bideford Quay. Sarah and Phansit Srisaeng are disappointed after waiting so long to gain a licence to sell food once a week on Bideford Quay.

Thursday, March 20, 2014
7:29 AM

Phansit’s Kitchen owners frustrated by six month wait and ‘11th hour’ hold up by councillors.

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THE owners of a takeaway Thai food van are baffled and disappointed after an 11th hour intervention by councillors halted their bid for a pitch on Bideford Quay.

Phansit’s Kitchen owners Phansit and Sarah Srisaeng have been working with Torridge District Council for around six months to secure a licence to serve Thai food on the Quay every Friday from 5-8pm.

In December a draft licence was drawn up and about to be issued, subject to the relevant paperwork, but then last month they were told some councillors had concerns a new hot food licence might affect other traders in the town.

Since then Sarah has heard nothing, despite repeated attempts to contact the council. The North Devon Gazette contacted TDC on Monday and a spokesman told us: “As concerns were raised at the 11th hour regarding the local traders being affected by any new concession, a report is being written for members to take under consideration.” He said that didn’t necessarily mean it would go to a committee, just that officers will investigate the concerns.

Sarah and Phansit used to run the Phansit’s Kitchen restaurant in the town, before deciding to focus on their mobile food business. Now, they set out their stall at various venues, including Surf Bay Holiday Park in Westward Ho! on a Thursday evening and the Fremington lay-by on Saturdays.

She said they had been devastated to learn of the last minute change in direction and felt ‘badly let down’.

She said they had been through long discussions with a working group, discussing ways they could make the Quay more attractive to visitors and make the most of the town’s assets.

“I was very upset, we had spent a long time building up our business and we were really excited about this opportunity,” she said.

“I have canvassed a number of restaurants and they all said it would not affect them. We use local butchers, fruit and vegetable growers and other local suppliers.

“Our supplier list was considered sufficient for us to be accepted into Taste of the West and we won their prestigious silver award in 2009 and gold in 2010.

“But this is where we live, this is where our children were born. We were looking forward to supporting the town and providing a service we know our customers want.”

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