Councillors revoke premises licence from Thaxted restaurant

Four men were arrested at India Villa last Friday (June 21). Picture: GOOGLE

Four men were arrested at India Villa last Friday (June 21). Picture: GOOGLE - Credit: Archant

A Thaxted restaurant has vowed to fight a decision made by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) to revoke its premises licence, months after police arrested four people suspected of working illegally at the venue.

Councillors decided to remove India Villa's premises licence at a licensing and environmental health committee meeting on Tuesday.

Speaking to the Broadcast on Wednesday a spokesman for the business said the restaurant would be appealing the decision.

A premises licence allows venues to sell alcohol.

A submission to UDC, prepared by Essex Police, outlined details of the arrests made on June 21. According to the submission, officers attended the restaurant, in Watling Street, in relation to an unrelated incident, and after spotting a room with multiple beds in "obvious use", requested details of staff working at the location.

After several employees attempted to flee, four people were detained due to having no right to work in the UK and no leave to remain in the UK and were dealt with by the immigration service.

Living conditions at the property were described by one attending police officer as "crammed, unhygienic and not suitable to live in".

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The police report went on: "Allowing this premises to continue to operate with the benefits of a premises licence will merely serve to perpetuate the human exploitation which is already apparent."

Explaining the committee's decision to revoke the licence, Councillor Patrick Lavelle said: "We are concerned at the behaviour to which local residents are subjected; this includes issues arising from the multiple occupancy of the upper rooms in the India Villa building."

During the same meeting, which India Villa did not attend, an application for the transfer of the licence was also rejected.

On August 22, a company called Surma Villa Ltd applied to transfer the restaurant's premises licence into its name from the current licence holder.

Ahead of the meeting, Essex Police said: "This transfer application is no more than an attempt to deceive sub-committee members."

Cllr Lavelle said: "The only thing that has actually been transferred is one £1 share in a limited company, and we note from the Companies House documentation provided that both transferor and transferee reside at the same address. We do not believe that anything will change."