Night club owner who says Fenland councillor and builder ‘washed his hands of me’ over enforcement row gets banned from Conservative Club
BUILDER and Fenland councillor John Chambers hit back angrily at allegations that he was in any way to blame for the closure of a Chatteris night spot.
Night club boss Viv Salisbury claimed he paid Cllr Chambers �15,000 for internal building work that included a smokers’ terrace that was later declared illegal by Fenland Council.
Mr Salisbury, 68, says he’s furious that when the council began enforcement action against him Cllr Chambers “washed his hands of me.”
But Cllr Chambers said that although he and his son Jonathan did work at the Palace in Market Hill, he never got involved in the roof terrace.
“I wouldn’t get involved because he hadn’t got planning permission,” said Cllr Chambers. “He was told he needed planning permission from the day he started. The only work my son and I did was on the inside. I had nothing to do with the roof terrace- he kept asking me for advice and my son spent half a day fixing some timbers on the roof terrace. That was all.”
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But Mr Salisbury said: “The money I paid John Chambers was mainly for wages since I paid for all the materials. He told me I didn’t need planning permission but I would need building regulations since it was an outside area.
“When I went back to him and said I did need planning consent, he didn’t want to know. Building regulations never got sorted either- even though I paid �237 to have them approved.”
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Mr Salisbury has been forced to close his VK’s nightclub in Market Hill but not because he had to take down the roof terrace.
He says the closure was forced upon him after licensing officers removed his premises licence which made it illegal for him to open.
Fenland Council claimed last week that “direct action” was taken against Mr Salisbury to remove the roof terrace he built in the spring of last year above 8 Market Hill.
Residents complained about the terrace, said a council spokesman, and a Government inspector, on appeal, upheld the council’s verdict that the terrace must go.
Mr Salisbury insists most of the terrace was removed by him before an enforcement team arrived but Fenland Council claims most of it was still there and they will bill him for removing it.
The building at the centre of the dispute was sold by Mr Salisbury to Abdul Hai of St Ives in 2009 and opened as an Indian restaurant. However when it struggled to survive as a stand alone restaurant, Mr Hai asked Mr Salisbury if he would lease part of the building back which he did and opened it as a night club.
Mr Salisbury is now involved in a separate dispute with Fenland Council over the legality of licences attached to the building.
“I tried four times to speak to Council Leader Alan Melton about this,” said Mr Salisbury.
“Eventually he arranged for chief planning officer Derek McKenzie to come and see me to try and sort things out but now I hear even he’s left the council,” he added.
A Fenland Council spokesman insisted they had removed “most of the decking, the balustrade, the porch on the roof and the ‘dumb waiter’. Mr Salisbury only removed part of the decking.”
The spokesman also said Mr Salisbury did not have the correct licences to run the club.
“Mr Salisbury is not the premises licence holder or the designated premises supervisor and he has never applied to be so during the ownership of the premises by Mr Abdul Hai,” said the spokesman.
“The premises licence was held by Mr Hai, who decided to surrender it. Mr Hai has never consented or indeed asked FDC to transfer it to Mr Salisbury or anyone else.”