Rothwell's Gin Palace bids to sell gin once more

A gin bar stopped from selling gin after illegal sales will find out whether they will be able to sell alcohol again today (Wednesday).

By Sam Wildman
Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 6:00 am
It has been soft drinks only at the gin bar.
It has been soft drinks only at the gin bar.

It has been soft drinks only at The Gin Palace and Old Bakehouse restaurant in Market Hill after owner Lee Thorn's application for a premises licence was rejected by Kettering Council in August.

Despite a warning from the police and a hand-delivered letter earlier this summer Mr Thorn - who is under investigation for breaching the Licensing Act - continued to sell booze without a licence, leading to Kettering Council’s health service manager Russ Howell saying it was 'the most flagrant disregard for licensing' he had ever seen.

A day after the application was refused Mr Thorn, a former football club director, applied for a new licence which will be considered by Kettering councillors at 3.30pm today in the council chamber.

But the council, as the licensing authority, has again taken the unusual step of giving representations against the application, and is the only public body to do so.

In a report set to be discussed by councillors Mr Howell said Mr Thorn had taken steps to promote their licensing objectives - but had simply lifted information without taking notice of its content.

He said: "The licensing authority is concerned that lip service has been paid to this section of the application with no actual premises based risk assessment against the licensing objectives having been carried out by the applicant.

"There appears to be a lack of understanding of the importance of the licensing objectives.

"More significantly given the applicant’s failure to comply with licensing legislation, the licensing authority is of the view that the applicant has no real respect or regard for the requirements of the licensing legislation and therefore the application should be refused."

Mr Thorn, who pumped £150,000 into the venture, previously blamed paperwork issues, not being able to understand the application process and being a first-time restaurant owner, as reasons why he had not been able to apply for a licence correctly. He admitted "making a complete and total hash of it".

In response to Mr Howell, Mr Thorn said lip service "most certainly hasn't been the case" and that their application contains "over and above" what was detailed.

He said: "We have operated under your advice and instruction since the last application was refused and in line with all regulations without any issues or incidents."