A businessman has claimed he has been left tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket due to council red tape.
Waqaar Younis, who owns the popular milkshake and ice-cream parlour Redberry, had planned on expanding the brand by opening a new premises in the former restaurant section of Marco Polo, which still runs as a takeaway, on Hawkhill.
But the Dundee businessman has claimed that despite him and his partners’ best efforts to meet the requirements of the council, they have been left with no choice but to scrap the venture because of what he describes as the authority’s uncooperative attitude.
Waqaar explained: “We wanted to open an American style diner selling burgers and milkshakes. The plan was to make it a student hub with reasonable prices.
“Compared to the other two shops we have, this was a huge project but it previously it used to be a restaurant so the infrastructure was there.
“But it was the way the council dealt with us – for example we would be dealing with one officer and then they would take a week off.
“We would try and talk to someone else but we would be at a standstill until the original person got back”
Waqaar also hit at what he saw as the council “moving the goalposts”, with officials constantly coming back to them with additional work to be carried out.
“They would come down and say this is not correct so we would get that rectified. Then a couple of weeks later they would come back and they would tell us something else, he explained,” he said.
“If they told us everything from the start, then we could work through it rather than costing us money, time and loss of business with this going on for months.
“We acquired the premises in August and had estimated to open within the first four to six weeks, but it started looking more like five to six months and we just couldn’t afford to keep battling.”
Waqaar has admitted that he and his business partners have been left counting the cost of having to scrap their plans for a third venture and have been left wary of working with the council on the future.
He added: “We had to keep up with the rents and rates while the council took their time and there was no sense of urgency which was one of the main problems.
“Tens of thousands were put into this venture. To see it lost when it could have been a goldmine it’s sad. This has effected our personal lives also.”
Waqaar now aims to focus on Redberry’s existing shops on Crichton Street and in Broughty Ferry, and plans to start selling burgers in the Ferry premises.
A Dundee City Council spokesman said: “All building works must be carried out in compliance with the standards and regulations set out in their applications to ensure safety.”