‘Error’ leads to booze ban for restaurant

RESTAURANT REVIEW - Papa Luigi's, Euxton

RESTAURANT REVIEW - Papa Luigi's, Euxton

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Customers have spoken out against rules which mean a Chorley restaurant is unable to sell alcohol for a month.

An ‘administrative oversight’ means Papa Luigi’s, on Wigan Road, Euxton can’t get a licence to allow customers to drink alcohol.

Customers to the Italian eatery have blasted the rule, enforced by Chorley Council, saying it is ‘short sighted’.

Customer Craig Wellum arrived at the restaurant on Thursday to be told of the ban.

He said: “This event just demonstrates a complete lack of joined up thinking.

“I fully accept there have to be rules on this, otherwise you would have folk selling alcohol from caravans in a lay-by, but people are losing their jobs on a daily basis.

“Times are tough and getting tougher, so what is the idea behind trying to close a business?

“Papa Luigi’s has been operating for over 20 years, employing people and paying taxes.

“Why could they not give them a bit of leeway in the circumstances?”

Mr Wellum, of German Lane, Charnock Richard, said he chose to buy a bottle of wine and bring it back to the restaurant to eat with his dinner.

He said: “I shot off and bought some wine and took it back. We had an excellent evening. People should support Papa’s in their darkest hour.”

John Hilton, who has owned the restaurant for the last 17 years, said: “Hilton Leisure owned the licence, and when Papa Luigi’s was made into a separate company we should have filled some forms out. It was purely an administration thing. Everything is still the same.

“We are one of the longest, if not the longest established Italian restaurant in the area, and the only thing I am sad about that no leeway is given for such a minor error.

“I’ve no gripes with the council, in so far as the law is the law, but it is a little silly.

“This is having a big effect because a third of what we take is alcohol related.”

Gary Hall, Chorley Council’s Chief Executive, said: “The licence lapsed because the holding company of Papa Luigi’s went into liquidation. The operators had the opportunity to transfer the licence but they didn’t do so.

“Once this came to our attention we informed the owners that they no longer had a licence and that they would have to make an application for a new one.

“We have been offering all the help we can for the owners to get the forms filled out correctly and we will process the application as quickly as we can.

“In the meantime, they are welcome to apply for temporary event notices that would allow them to sell alcohol in the short term over their busiest days.

“I can understand the frustration, but the licensing rules are in place to protect the public and it would be illegal for them to carry on selling alcohol without a licence and they would be at risk of prosecution.”