Indian restaurant in UK fined over complaints of ‘curry smell’
While many of us would probably love it if we had sumptuous biryani smell wafting through all day, that wasn’t the sentiment shared by the neighbours of this Indian restaurant in the UK. The owners of Khushi Indian Buffet Restaurant have been fined by a court after neighbours complained of strong ‘curry smells’ emanating from the eatery. Middlesbrough Council fined owners Shabana and Mohammed Khushi after the establishment sent aromas of ‘biryanis’ and ‘bhajis’ filtering through the area.
The court reprotedly said the Linthorpe restaurant lacked a ‘sufficient filtration system’. Because of this, a bunch of locals had been complaining about the smells, which led to the council’s decision, according to a Metro report. Khushi, which serves Punjabi dishes and was based in the Red Rose pub, was set in a built-up residential area alongside other businesses.
The hearing took place last week at Teesside Magistrates’ Court, where District Judge Kristina Harrison heard from a council prosecutor that some locals complained of the smell of the spicy food from Khushi’s kitchen getting in through their windows overpowering. According to a Gazette Live report, the smells were so strong that the residents even felt the need to wash their clothes in order to get the smell out.
The duo was fined £258 each, ordered to pay £500 costs each, and a £30 victim surcharge.
In their defence, their solicitor Neil Douglas said that since the two 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. There were some letters in favour of the couple, including one from a charity that praised the owners for providing food and drink to the local food bank, while some others said they don’t have a problem with the curry smells on the road, it didn’t stall the fine.
According to reports, a company specialising 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 £3,500-4,500 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.