“This application is a flagrant abuse of the law”: committee turns down restaurant’s bid for new licence

PUBLISHED: 08:45 26 November 2018

The Jalsa Ghar restaurant and Queen Victoria pub in Dunmow. Picture: GOOGLE

The Jalsa Ghar restaurant and Queen Victoria pub in Dunmow. Picture: GOOGLE

Archant

Uttlesford District Council (UDC) has rejected an application for a new premises licence for an Indian restaurant and pub in Dunmow.

The Queen Victoria and Jalsa Ghar, in Stortford Road, had its licence to serve alcohol revoked on September 11 after four illegal workers were found on the premises during a raid two months earlier.

Immigration officials said it was the fourth time in five years that illegal workers had been found on the premises.

The district council’s licensing and environmental health committee heard that the applicant, Aldbrook Ltd, which has owned the premises for a number of years, has a new director, Shawket Karim Chowdhury, who is also now a majority shareholder in the company. Mr Chowdhury was present at the committee hearing alongside Wazadur Chowdhury, the proposed supervisor and also a majority shareholder of Aldbrook Ltd.

A statement prepared by Essex Police, objecting the application, said that the revoked licence was jointly held by Ziaul Chowdhury and Omar Sharif.

The document prepared by police added that Shawket Karim Chowdhury is also currently a co-director of a taxi firm alongside Hadayouth Chowdhury, who worked at the pub and restaurant in a management capacity for two years, and was an applicant for a transfer of the license following the July immigration raid, which was rejected.

The document prepared by Essex Police says: “There is no suggestion that the company has been sold to outside independent interests, or that management control has changed, therefore there is significant scope to suggest the crime and disorder (namely potential for illegal working) will be engaged.”

Licensing agent Stuart Gibson, speaking on behalf of Shawket Karim Chowdhury and Wazadur Chowdhury, said: “The reason we are sat here is because this gentleman has a name of Chowdhury and the police believe he is a relation. There is no relation. My submission is that the business deserves the opportunity to achieve. This is a clean break.”

Committee chairman, Councillor Robert Chambers said: “This closely-linked group have traded collaboratively from these premises since before 2000. It is equally plain that they will continue to do so and that nothing has changed. We are aware that the Home Office guidance permits this committee to use its powers to deter others, and this is a case where we should do so. This application is a flagrant abuse of the law.”

The applicant can appeal the decision within 21 days.

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