#Burgergate: What You Haven’t Been Told

Our investigative report reveals that The Shop is currently unable to sell the promised burgers due to the Union not holding the correct license. What does this mean for UEA students?

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The Union’s decision to remove some of the most popular features of the LCR has left many students feeling disenfranchised, and most importantly without a burger. Despite promises that the new shop will sell hot food, it has emerged that the Union has failed to obtain a licence to sell hot food after 11pm yet. In a single move the Union has (at least temporarily) robbed students of their post-LCR takeaways, and caused four job losses in a much loved local business. Despite claiming an ethical agenda, it appears that on this occasion the Union has failed to deliver this, and has instead hastily rushed in without necessarily considering the impacts on students and the local area, and before it has even been able to get a licence of its own. The Tab investigates this issue.

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On Tuesday night during the LCR, reporters from The Tab visited the new shop to sample the now infamous union burgers. However, upon reaching the hatch our reporters were surprised to find that no hot food was available. The staff were apologetic, claiming that due to a licensing delay they would not be able to sell burgers until next week. Currently, cold food is available to buy from the Shop after the LCR. Evidence of the licence application was found attached to lampposts in the local area.

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The following afternoon a phone call made by The Tab to the council revealed that the application for a licence to sell hot food was indeed pending a decision, however it was also revealed that four objections had been made. The Tab has now been informed that the licensing manager will reach a decision in the next couple of days as to whether or not the application will be approved or go to a committee. If the application goes to a committee, then students could be waiting until the 12th of December before the application is even discussed, as this is the scheduled date of the next licensing committee according to the Council website.

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The Union is optimistic that its application will be successful, however, and Joe Levell released the following statement:

“We have submitted a licence to the Council to be able to provide late night food. Anyone is allowed to make any comments or appeals regarding a licence application. We are now waiting for the process to be completed and we hope this will be as soon as possible.”

Amidst the confusion of #burgergate, however, it is important to note that Corkys burger van, who lovingly served drunken students burgers in the small hours of the morning, already have the relevant licence approved by the council. Indeed, a spokesperson from Corkys informed the Tab that they had offered to cover the gap in service whilst the Union acquired its licence but were rejected. Why does the Union consider eliminating a popular local business a priority over reliable burger service?

It is also important to note that, contrary to other published reports, the burger van gave 10% of its takings NOT profit to the union – money that was handed over before staff wages, petrol, and other overheads were taken into account. On top of that, the location of the van was significantly better than that of the shop hatch – not only was it in the prime location to get a burger whilst waiting for a taxi, but Corkys acted as another set of eyes and was able to inform security and point out troublemakers whilst keeping a general eye on things and helping to maintain the LCR atmosphere that so many UEA students enjoyed over the years. Will people attending gigs be aware that the shop sells burgers, or will they simply assume that a valuable service is no longer there as they wait for their taxi in the cold? Meanwhile, the employees of Corkys face the devastating loss of income at very short notice.

The Tab eagerly awaits the Council’s decision on the application and will keep its readers informed. The most important question remains: Will the Union be able to sell burgers this Saturday, or will students go hungry for another week?