Saxmundham: Public nuisance reports lead to restaurant alcohol licence review

Alcohol licence threat after public nuisance complaints

Alcohol licence threat after public nuisance complaints - Credit: PA

A kebab shop manager has urged licensing chiefs to reject calls for his alcohol permit to be revoked.

Peter Pemberton, who runs Zorba’s restaurant and takeaway in Market Place, Saxmundham, could lose the right to serve alcohol if a review board follows the advice of licensing officers next Monday, September 2.

The review follows complaints from local residents to Suffolk Coastal about anti-social behaviour by customers leaving the restaurant.

But Mr Pemberton believes an alcohol ban would be heavy-handed, and has handed the council a petition asking for the licence to be retained.

Zorba’s was given a licence to serve alcohol until midnight, and only with food served in the dining area. But, because the shop was not authorised for “late night refreshment”, it meant food could not be served after 11pm, although alcohol could still be served while customers eat.

A report by Suffolk Coastal’s top licensing officer said police had made observations indicating a “strong likelihood” of out-of-hours or otherwise unauthorised alcohol sales, and that two officers had bought alcohol without also buying food.

The report concedes that the licence was badly worded and lacked clarity, but suggests the restaurant should be allowed to only serve food and not alcohol, or at least reduce drinking hours and clarify conditions.

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Mr Pemberton has called for the licence to be varied, enabling his staff to sell alcohol and food separately. He said: “The confusion arose over people coming in and having a drink without a meal. We want the council to allow this by varying the licence.

“We are a very popular venue for the community and everyone who comes here has been very supportive. We feel that to revoke our licence would be a draconian measure.”

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