Restaurant’s alcohol licence removed after Border Agency raid

A poorly managed restaurant where workers were housed in cramped conditions will not be able to sell alcohol when coronavirus restrictions lift.

Published: Tuesday, 9th June 2020

On Friday 5 June, Cherwell District Council’s licensing sub-committee resolved to remove Jaflong’s alcohol and late-night refreshment licence in the interests of public protection. It followed a review application from the Home Office. It was the first online meeting held by the sub-committee, after the original hearing was postponed because of COVID-19.

In October, a Border Agency raid found five individuals who had no right to work in the UK as well as a catalogue of issues including food safety concerns and pigeon mess in a courtyard next to the window. In addition to blocked fire exits there was an underground tunnel connecting two cellars.

Cllr Andrew McHugh, Cherwell’s executive member with responsibility for licensing, said: “The sub-committee found that this restaurant was being poorly managed and that this could contribute to crime and disorder. In particular, there was a disregard for immigration and employment law. 

“It may be some time yet until restaurants can reopen. When they do, it will be more vital than ever that they offer a safe and hygienic experience for their customers. By removing Jaflong’s alcohol licence we are sending a very strong message that licenced premises owe a duty of care to their workers and customers and cannot cut corners.”

Eight beds for workers were found above the restaurant and piles of goods were blocking the exits. 

Home Office guidance establishes that alcohol licensing authorities such as Cherwell should consider revoking the right to sell alcohol when the business raises public safety concerns or the licensee is not following relevant public protection laws. 

The restaurant is in Bicester Market Place and it was reported to the hearing that the licensee has a £20,000 civil penalty fine outstanding with the Border Agency.