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Council finds bar and seating for 24 people on visit to disputed Japanese restaurant

PUBLISHED: 17:26 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:34 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

Council officers visiting the home of a man who has denied using his home as a Japanese restaurant found 24 dining places set out.

The property at night, with Orlando's name illuminated. Photo: SubmittedThe property at night, with Orlando's name illuminated. Photo: Submitted

Orlando Williams, of Earlham Road, Norwich, has categorically denied that he is running a restaurant from his house - despite having an illuminated sign, a Facebook page an even an advertisement on Trip Advisor.

However, on being visited by city council officers, Mr Williams had some 24 places set up at tables in his dining room, and even had a bar in the premises.

MORE: ‘I haven’t turned my house into a Japanese restaurant’, Norwich man claims

The discovery came to light as members of Norwich City Council’s planning committee discussed an application from Mr Williams to use the home as a five-bedroom bed and breakfast.

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

Members were shown several photographs taken from inside the property, which showed a bar and tables set up for diners.

Charlotte Hounsell, the case officer for the application said: “Last time officers visited the property 24 places were set up.

“The owner said these were set up in case the application to turn the home into a bed and breakfast was successful.”

Members of the committee unanimously agreed to approve the bed and breakfast bid, however, a separate enforcement case looking to determine whether the house had been used as a restaurant without planning permission remains outstanding.

The committee was told that while there was evidence that the home has been marketed as a restaurant, the council was yet to discover the venue being physically used as one.

Another officer added: “It is only once people turn up and use it as a restaurant that we can safely say it is one and thus far we have seen no evidence that anyone has used it.

“With regards to it being a bed and breakfast, they could then serve the odd person who is not staying there.”

While councillors unanimously voted in favour of the application, committee members did express reservations ahead of the vote.

Mike Sands, councillor for the Bowthorpe ward said: “I question the motives of the people running the place. While I don’t have a problem with it being used as a bed and breakfast - which would be little different to an HMO - I remain highly sceptical of the whole operation.”

Mr Williams did not attend.

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