'I haven't turned my house into a Japanese restaurant', Norwich man claims
PUBLISHED: 05:30 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:34 12 January 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
With a large illuminated sign at the front, a dedicated Facebook page and phone number, it has all the hallmarks of a restaurant.
But owner Orlando Williams today insists that his seven-bed house on Earlham Road in Norwich is not operating as a Japanese eatery.
Unhappy neighbours claim he has been running a restaurant inside the property since October last year without permission.
It has led to Norwich City Council investigating the premises over a possible breach of planning regulations.
But former restaurateur Mr Williams denies the allegations against him.
That is despite the installation of a large illuminated sign outside his house which reads “Orlando’s”.
The word “Sakura” is also printed above the front door, which is the same name as his previous Japanese restaurant on Ber Street.
When asked about the signage, Mr Williams 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.
Neighbours living around the property claim they were not informed about plans to turn the house into a restaurant.
Becky Greengrass, 45, said she only became aware when Mr Williams invited her husband to the launch party last year.
She said: “When my husband told me I was just dumbfounded. I could not believe it. We are all up in arms because he didn’t get planning permission for it.
“We thought surely we should have been notified.
“Then there is the god awful sign that has been put up. The amount of friends who drive past and ask me ‘what the hell has opened up next door to you’...”
Peter Wright, 67, who lives nearby, said he had already complained to the city council.
He said: “We just can’t understand what is going on. He has no planning permission to be a restaurant.
“I was a bit peeved off because it is a nice residential area around here.”
Neighbour Andrew Unwin added: “The restaurant appeared from nowhere. It’s hardly in keeping with this residential area and there appears to be no planning permission granted.”
Norwich City Council said it has made numerous visits to the property, but has not been able to establish whether or not it was being used as a working restaurant.
A council spokesman said the investigation was ongoing into possible planning related enforcement.
“We’re continuing to look into this,” the spokesman said.
Today (Thursday, January 10), the city council’s planning committee will decide on an application to turn the same property into a five-bedroom bed and breakfast.
The application has been recommend for approval.