Champagne corks can pop once more at Rothwell restaurant

A popular Rothwell restaurant and bar have been given a second chance and can now serve alcohol after being granted a licence.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 9:31 am
The Gin Palace has been closed since the end of September, but can now re-open.

The Old Bakehouse and Gin Palace had a premises licence refused in August on the recommendation of police and Kettering Council officers because of a series of illegal booze sales since it re-opened in April this year.

However, yesterday, after a new application Kettering’s licensing committee decided to give the venues, which employ 16 staff, a lifeline and grant a permanent licence.

The news has come as a relief for Lee Thorn who runs the business, as he said Gin Palace has been shut since mid September and he has been losing £1,800 a week on the venture. The Old Bakehouse has been serving food but customers have had to bring their own liquor if they wanted an alcoholic drink with their meals.

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Mr Thorn, who used to be a director of Kettering Town Football Club, had said at August’s licensing hearing that a lack of expertise in filling out licensing paperwork led to the earlier errors which meant alcoholic drinks had been sold without the permit. He said yesterday the businesses could not continue for much longer without being able to sell alcoholic drinks and that he owed £14,000 in business rates.

He said: “The business has gone into hardship measures. We have not been able to open (the Gin Palace) since September 21 and it has taken a massive toll on the profitability of the business. I have made a commitment to keep my 16 staff going. I have put £150,000 into the business and it is not is not something I am prepared to let go without a fight.”

He added: “We have been trading as a restaurant without any problems. The reviews have been fantastic. There is a will to ensure that everything is done right.”

The licensing committee, which was chaired by Cllr Lloyd Bunday, went against the representation from Kettering Council’s health service manager Russ Howell to refuse the licence.

Mr Howell’s report said he felt the new application from Mr Thorn was just paying lip service to licensing objectives and the new application paperwork was a cut and paste job.

After 30 minutes of deliberations the licensing committee decided to grant the premises licence as it said it could see no reason to refuse it.