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New twist in 'Japanese restaurant' saga as City Hall confirms food safety probe

PUBLISHED: 10:34 12 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:58 12 January 2019

The signage on the property in Norwich. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

The signage on the property in Norwich. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

The "Japanese restaurant" at the centre of controversy is subject of a two-pronged investigation from the city council.

Orlando Williams pictured in his former Norwich restaurant. 
Photo by Simon FinlayOrlando Williams pictured in his former Norwich restaurant. Photo by Simon Finlay

Officers are looking into whether or not Orlando Williams has been operating a Japanese restaurant from his home in Norwich, after receiving numerous complaints from neighbours.

The home on Earlham Road has an illuminated sign above its door emblazoned with the name of a former city restaurant, a Facebook page and advertisements on Trip Advisor, while council officers previously found places set for more than 20 people on a visit.

The complaints have led to City Hall investigating Mr Williams into whether he has breached two sets of regulations.

Should it be found that Mr Williams has been operating a restaurant it would see him falling foul of both planning and food safety regulations.

On Thursday, city councillors gave him permission to turn his seven-bedroom home into a bed and breakfast. However it is understood this permission would not permit it to also operate as a restaurant or serve alcohol, both of which would provide additional applications.

The following questions were asked of Norwich City Council in relation to the investigations.

• How many individual reports of the site being used as a restaurant has the council received?

• How many times has the council visited this as part of the enforcement case – and at what times of day did these take place?

• Has the council seen any advertisement, leaflets or menus for the house as a restaurant?

• What does the new use as a bed and breakfast give Mr Williams permission to do by way of serving food?

• Are there any time restrictions on when a bed and breakfast can provide food?

• When does the property’s status as a bed and breakfast come into effect now permission has been granted?

• Has the council reached a conclusion in the enforcement case against Mr Williams?

• What is the council’s definition of ‘use as a restaurant?’

• What action would the council take if it discovers evidence of it being used as a restaurant?

• Does the permission for it to be used as a bed and breakfast in any way affect the ongoing enforcement case?

• What did Mr Williams say when officers asked him about having a restaurant?

In response a spokesman said: “We are in the middle of two investigations into possible breaches of planning and food safety regulations, which may have legal consequences, so we can’t provide specific details which may form part of this investigation and which could jeopardise the case.”

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