Chinese restaurant in Westcliff faces licensing review

A Chinese restaurant in Southend is facing a licence review on Monday following a complaint of “criminality” by Home Office immigration officers, it has been revealed.

Zen City, in Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff, will be the subject of a licensing review at Southend City Council on the grounds that the “prevention of crime and disorder is being undermined”.

The application for review was made by the Home Office in March.

The hearing will take place at Southend Civic Centre on Monday.

Documents, which have been heavily redacted, confirm members of the public will be excluded on the grounds that it “involves alleged criminality”.

The document for the hearing says: “Members are invited to consider an application by The Home Office (Immigration), for the review of an existing premises licence.

“The application relates to a premises located in Hamlet Court Road, along a stretch of mixed commercial and residential properties.

“A copy of the current licence has been provided to the sub-committee. Please note that since the review application was submitted, an application for a change of the designated premises supervisor and a change also of the premises licence holder has been made, and granted.”

Essex Police confirmed the application for a licence review was submitted by the immigration service, however the Home Office has stated “it is longstanding government policy” to not comment on individual cases.

A council spokesperson said: “All parties will be notified in writing of the outcome before entering a 21-day appeal period from the date of the decision. No further comment can be made during this time.”

The council previously said the licensing hearing was taking place on “the grounds of the prevention of crime and disorder by way of alleged criminality at the licensed premises.”

Martin Terry, councillor responsible for community safety said: “I think it’s very right that the licensing committee and the city council, if the Home Office is sharing information and raise questions, should pay attention to that.

“Indeed, it’s a strong message that licensees need to keep within the terms of their licences.”

Zen City had not provided a comment at time of publication.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter