Police fear 'new' restaurant is front for owner who breached Covid rules
- Credit: Klodjan Xhaferrllari/ Archant
Police have suspicions a restaurateur who lost his alcohol licence after a Covid breach is trying to "bypass" the ruling by re-opening the venue in his brother's name.
Diamonds on 82 Upper St Giles Street was stripped of its licence in January after manager Olgert Xhaferrllarri breached lockdown restrictions by serving food and drink to more than a dozen customers for a funeral commemoration.
In May 2021, a licence application for a new venue at the address — Lords Restaurant — was uploaded to Norwich City Council's planning portal.
The applicant is Mediterranean Fine Dining Ltd, a company which was incorporated three days before the bid was submitted, and whose registered director is Klodjan Xhaferrllari — Olgert's younger brother.
But the 21-year-old said: "The police have it wrong. I can absolutely confirm my brother Olgert has nothing to do with 82 Upper St Giles Street.
"He is not the manager, and has already taken another job at another business, which isn't even in Norwich.
"I don't think anyone can stop him having a drink in there, but he won't be running the show with me."
You may also want to watch:
In Norfolk Police's consultation letter, submitted to the city council's online portal ahead of the licensing sub-committee meeting next Monday, licensing officer Michelle Bartram said: "We have concerns this application is just an administrative change and a way to circumvent the decision made by the licensing committee.
"It is anticipated the manager and owner of the premises will remain as Olgert Xhaferrllari."
- 1 'Our lives are being destroyed': Neighbours' despair over noisy students
- 2 Pupil taken to hospital after incident at Thorpe St Andrew school
- 3 'The final straw' - Bakery fears closure over council plans
- 4 Norwich named UK's most romantic destination
- 5 City staff facing 'mass burnout' but what is behind the extreme exhaustion?
- 6 Man found dead at Thorpe St Andrew home
- 7 Petrol attack shopkeeper opens spice shop and restaurant in former pub
- 8 Fresh plans for rooftop bar on St Stephens
- 9 Women to boycott city nightclubs amid rise in drink spiking
- 10 Diversions in place on A47 near Norwich due to flooding
The reasons Ms Bartram gave for her suspicions were the fact the premises lease remains in Olgert's name, a Facebook post from Olgert on May 19 shows him advertising for bar staff to work at the restaurant, and during a joint police and council visit to Lords on May 25, Olgert was in charge.
She continued: "When I visited, Olgert was upfront that he had invested a great deal of money into the premises and was unable to come out of the lease agreement and therefore his family wanted to help him."
Ms Bartram finished by stressing that Olgert lost his licence in the first place for failing to take his responsibilities seriously.
She said the council should be wary — if granting a licence to Klodjan — that the family connection may mean the premises remains a concern.
Other objections from nearby residents include noise and anti-social behaviour.