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Man who denies turning house into Japanese restaurant will not face enforcement action

PUBLISHED: 06:00 13 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:52 13 February 2019

Orlando's, Norwich. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Orlando's, Norwich. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

Enforcement action will not be taken against a man who denied turning his Norwich home into a Japanese restaurant.

The property at night, with Orlando's name illuminated. Photo: SubmittedThe property at night, with Orlando's name illuminated. Photo: Submitted

Orlando Williams says his seven-bed home on Earlham Road is not operating as a Japanese eatery, despite him erecting a large illuminated sign outside.

But complaints from neighbours led to Norwich City Council launching an investigation into the property over a possible breach of planning control.

Since then officers have been sent fliers and leaflets advertising the property as a restaurant.

A visit to the house also found 24 dining places set out and a bar inside.

Orlando Williams. 
Photo by Simon FinlayOrlando Williams. Photo by Simon Finlay

But a council email sent to neighbours last week said no enforcement action would be taken against former restaurateur Mr Williams.

The enforcement team said: “Planning permission is not required for the marketing of a site as a different use nor is it required for the setup of internal furniture.

“In this case we do not have any definitive evidence that shows that the above address is operating as a restaurant.”

The email said council officers had not received any reports or photographic evidence to indicate the property was being used as a restaurant.

A leaflet advertising the property as a Japanese restaurant. Photo: SubmittedA leaflet advertising the property as a Japanese restaurant. Photo: Submitted

It also said social media pages for the restaurant do not contain any reviews or comments that are more recent than 2015.

The enforcement team said several phone calls had been made to the advertised number, however officers received no response.

Mr Williams’s house still has a large illuminated sign reading “Orlando’s” outside. The word “Sakura” is also printed above the front door, which is the same name as his previous Japanese restaurant on Ber Street.

The EDP contacted the advertised number on Tuesday, but Mr William’s said he could not talk.

Orlando Williams denies claims his property is being used as a restaurant. Photo: Luke PowellOrlando Williams denies claims his property is being used as a restaurant. Photo: Luke Powell

When he was asked about the signage in January, he said: “All I do, I have my name on my house.

“There is no restaurant there.”

In response to being asked about whether his property had been used as a restaurant, he added: “What you are saying to me is wrong.”

A Facebook page for the Sakura restaurant shows its location as the property on Earlham Road. The advertised restaurant number is also for Mr Williams.

When the number was called, a person who answered confirmed the restaurant was at the Earlham Road address.

A Norwich City Council spokesman said: “We have been in contact with Mr Williams about the sign on the front of the building as well as reports of it trading as a restaurant.

“As a result, we are working with him to remove the sign and have made it clear that he doesn’t have the necessary planning permission to use the building as a restaurant.”

In January city councillors gave Mr Williams permission to turn his home into a bed and breakfast. However it is understood this permission would not permit it to also operate as a restaurant or serve alcohol, both of which would provide additional applications.

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