Leave us in peace, says persecuted restaurant

PLEASE leave us alone and let us get on with our business in peace.

That's the message from the owners of Eggington Indian restaurant Lavang who say they have been bombarded with hate mail since opening in February this year.

Partner Shafqat Ezdi said the problem began during conversion of the former Horseshoes pub to a restaurant with notices saying 'take away go away' being flyposted throughout the village.

Mr Ezdi said a "small minority" of people are angry at the loss of the pub and seem bent on causing mischief.

"We understand that the pub was important to the communty and we have done our best to make everyone welcome," he said.

"As a gesture of goodwill, we have opened the bar to the locals on Saturday and Sunday mornings at pub prices and we do get a lot of support from some people.

"The letters are mostly anonymous and not serious enough to contact the police, but there is a real sense of animosity and we still feel unwelcome.

"I would just like to say to them, please leave us alone, we are trying to fit in."

. . . .But council says takeaway business wasn't allowed.

South Beds District Council's planning committee is due to consider a report recommending enforcement proceedings be taken, ordering Lavang restaurant to stop providing a takeaway service and the removal of an illuminated sign at a meeting tomorrow (Wednesday).

Council officers met with the tenants at the premises in March this year and explained that while the change of use from public house to restaurant was permitted, the provision of a takeaway service required separate planning permission.

It was also made clear that the illuminated signage required advertisement consent.

The tenants agreed to submit the required applications and to include details of a proposed upgraded extraction system.

The officers' report says that no such applications had been received and the tenants have written saying that more time is required for a consultant to design a suitable extraction system.

The committee will make a decision.