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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 October, 2004, 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK
Kebab shop is spared from closure
Gardenia - Photo courtesy Varsity Online
Gardenia opened in 1961 (photo courtesy Varsity Online)
Supporters of a popular kebab shop near Cambridge University are pleased it has beaten a closure threat.

The Gardenia Restaurant, known as Gardies, has been a fixture for four decades and can now stay open until the year 2011.

Caius College, which owns most of Rose Crescent, had earlier decided to redevelop the site to house students.

But fans of the eatery say their outcry against the plan helped convince the college to scrub the idea.

The campaign to keep the landmark open was spearheaded by the university's newspaper, Varsity.

I'm overwhelmed with the interest from people - there's been so much support
Vassilus Anastasiou,
Gardenia's owner

Editor Archie Bland said: "We are delighted that Gardies has been saved and we think it is a great day for students at the university and that our campaigning was such a resounding success."

Those campaigning to save the restaurant said an 8,000-name petition had been signed by Michael Portillo and Stephen Fry as well as students, but the college's senior bursar said a petition had not been turned in.

Barry Hedley said: "Normally a petition is handed in to someone but I've never seen it.

"We were never going to close Gardenia, We were going to exercise our break in the lease with the existing tenant."

He said no contract has been signed but "a new arrangement has been agreed" which would allow the owner to keep the shop open.

On Thursday, Gardenia's owner Vassilus Anastasiou, 42, said: "It's great news.

"There was a lot of support from the students and the local community and as far as I'm concerned local opinion won this time, which isn't always the case.

"I'm overwhelmed with the interest from people; there's been so much support."

Meanwhile, the college says it still needs to expand student accommodation; some undergraduates were already living in Rose Crescent and eventually more housing could be sited there.

Mr Hedley said: "That remains the long-term plan but Mr Anastasiou made a compelling case on a personal basis for being allowed to continue to the end of the current lease and we have decided to accept that."




SEE ALSO:
Students fight kebab shop closure
27 Oct 03  |  Cambridgeshire
Student's homage to kebabs
10 Sep 03  |  Education


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