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Late-night licence denied

PUBLISHED: 14:28 09 July 2008 | UPDATED: 21:09 07 July 2010

A businessman who showed a “blatant disregard” for the law was this week denied a late night licence for a new community centre in Thetford.

The three-storey Ashley House was reopened on the Stephenson Way industrial estate earlier this year as a centre for migrant workers and the new headquarters of a national Portuguese newspaper.

A businessman who showed a “blatant disregard” for the law was this week denied a late night licence for a new community centre in Thetford.

The three-storey Ashley House was reopened on the Stephenson Way industrial estate earlier this year as a centre for migrant workers and the new headquarters of a national Portuguese newspaper.

But plans for a premises licence for the first floor of the commercial building was rejected on Monday after it emerged that the applicant had been serving alcohol before the case had come before a licensing hearing.

The proposal by Jose Da Silva, of Chef Mountain Ltd, for a snack bar, restaurant, and ballroom serving alcohol and entertainment to up to 2.30am had received objections from neighbouring businesses and local residents over noise, vandalism, car parking and traffic concerns.

A Breckland Council licensing committee heard that police officers had discovered the Portuguese businessman committing licensing offences on June 25 and June 27 at Ashley House and seized his alcohol stock on the second occasion.

Tony Grover, licensing officer for Norfolk Police, said Mr Da Silva had shown a “blatant disregard” for licensing laws and he could not see the situation changing in the future. He added that the Crown Prosecution Service was considering prosecuting the businessman for serving alcohol without a licence.

Mr Da Silva, who rents the first floor of the industrial unit, said he had “misinterpreted” the licensing laws and his 96-seat restaurant could not work without a drink licence.

But Ian Sherwood, chairman of the Breckland Council licensing sub-committee, said he and his fellow councillors had “no confidence that a system of sound and robust management was in place” in respect of the application and was not convinced that the crime and disorder objectives would be met.

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