Rusholme, Manchester – Finally the Council shuts down an illegal shisha bar.
When it comes to the illegal use of business premises, local councils usually take enforcement action fairly swiftly and close down any illegal activity. But when it comes to taking action against a premises owned and controlled by a member of the ‘ethnic minorities’, then things can happen a lot slower.
After all, no council enforcement officer wants to face accusations of being ‘racist’ or of not showing sufficient ‘cultural sensitivity’ or ‘respect’. So consider this case from the Rusholme district of Manchester.
According to a spokesman for Manchester City council, “Tackling illegal shisha bars has long been a priority for the council.” Tough talking there, and so what is the priority?
In March 2023, the council forcibly closed down the illegal shisha bar at the 360 Cafe in Rusholme. This place was such a ‘council priority’ that it was first issued with a warning to cease operating as a shisha bar in September 2018! A council priority?
True enough, council enforcement officers with the support of Greater Manchester Police had raided the premises several times over a five-year period (a priority?) and had seized large numbers of shisha pipes and large quantities of tobacco, but never closed the place down nor did they prosecute the cafe owner.
After every raid, the owner quickly re-stocked, replaced the confiscated pipes and tobacco, re-opened for business in full public view. This was no underground operation, not a back street venue, the 360 Cafe stands on Wilmslow Road with a colourful and very obvious exterior and was well known in the local Asian community as a venue to smoke shisha pipes.
In fact the Manchester Evening News reported that the 360 Cafe had “flouted the law for years”. So finally in 2023, after the best part of six year’s operating illegally, Manchester City Council took ‘priority’ action and the 360 Cafe shisha bar was closed down and the owner taken to court.
The council put its stern face on and declared firmly, “For a number of years the illegal operation of this venue as a shisha bar has had an overwhelmingly negative impact on the surrounding community.” Dare we say that this was something of an understatement?
All sarcasm aside, the shisha bar was well known in the area, it was told to close down in September 2018, was raided several times and stocks seized, but why did it take five and a half years to finally prosecute and close it down? Again, this is a council priority?
Finally the owner of the premises, Mohammed Bashir, age 66 and a resident of Victoria Park, Manchester was taken to court and made a guilty plea. Convicted under the Town and Planning Act 1990, Mohammed Bashir was fined £10,000 with costs of £1,170. In addition he will also be facing a ‘Proceeds of Crime Act’ hearing.
So why did it take so long for the council to act? What were they afraid of? Why is it so often the case in multicultural areas that laws are routinely flouted and enforcement drags its feet so as not to upset ‘community cohesion’? Once again, a British city has been culturally enriched by its diversity.
Bottom – YouTube Video: A group of ‘customers’ present ‘a vlog type of video reviewing the (in)famous Kuwaiti lounge in Manchester’. We start the review at 2.02 minutes.
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