Family ‘living’ in basement of Turkish restaurant in the Fens re-housed following raid by police, fire and council enforcement officers
- Credit: Archant
A young family – believed to include a seven-month-old baby and a three-year-old boy – were rehoused after being found during a multi-agency raid on a Turkish restaurant in Chatteris.
The team that carried out the raid on the Pera Palace in Market Hill included police, fire crews and enforcement officers from Fenland District Council.
One immediate consequence was the temporary suspension of the restaurant’s premises licence – that allows the sale of alcohol- although this was later re-instated.
The owner of the restaurant is on holiday at the moment and his manager declined to comment.
Cambridgeshire Fire, Cambridgeshire Police and the district council agreed a joint statement that was issued today – we had approached them for comment prior to the weekend.
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A council spokesman said: “We can confirm that enforcement officers from Fenland District Council attended the Pera Palace restaurant in Chatteris on Thursday, August 6, as part of a multi-agency visit to the premises.”
The spokesman said: “Licensing and private sector housing officers, Cambridgeshire police and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service attended to inspect the premises following intelligence information received.
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“A number of concerns were raised with management requiring immediate action, including unauthorised use of accommodation, a breach of licensing conditions and inadequate fire safety standards.”
The council said that during the visit Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service issued a prohibition notice banning use of parts of the premises “until it is fully compliant with fire safety legislation”.
The spokesman added: “The premises licence was also temporarily suspended and a young family were rehoused.
“The licence suspension has since been lifted after compliance was met. Council officers and partners will closely monitor the situation to ensure the business is compliant in all areas.”
The spokesman added: “This enforcement activity is an excellent example of partnership working.
“By sharing information and working together we are able to use a range of legislative powers to take effective action and make our communities safer.”
Pera Palace opened just before Christmas and has been attracting rave reviews from visitors – one diner recently gave it a 10 out 10 rating on Trip Adviser.
“We’ll be back – can’t fault anything” he wrote.
One resident who witnessed the raid said “there was a lot of them, both uniformed and non-uniformed people plus the council entourage”.
Accomodation for the family found living in the basement was found for them locally for that, having been told it was unsafe for them to continue staying the basement of the restaurant.
The basement is understood to have been divided up into several ‘rooms’ and officials found multiple mattresses in each section.
The premises were once used as a nightclub and also at one time an Indian restaurant.
It was put up for auction three years ago offering a ground floor restaurant with 90 covers and a lower round room which has been converted into a further function area for 40 covers.
The total area of the listed property was said to be 6,000 square feet.