The future of a restaurant in the centre of Hove is in doubt after the owners were refused a drinks licence by the council.
Barcode, in Church Road, had been trading without a valid licence, according to evidence presented to a Brighton and Hove City Council licensing panel yesterday (Monday 13 June).
The company that was originally running the premises, Barcode Hove Limited, went into liquidation in December, owing nearly £200,000, having started a voluntary winding up process in November.
It owed nearly £10,000 to the council and £130,000 to Revenue and Customs and the council had begun legal proceedings after accusing Barcode of breaching a noise abatement notice.
A month before the winding up process was formally started, the Iranian family behind Barcode – the Abdolkhani family (sometimes spelt Abdulkhani) – formed a new company called Code Hove Limited.
A report to the licensing panel at Brighton Town Hall yesterday referred to conversations between council officials and Emad Abdolkhani.
Mr Abdolkhani was a former director of Barcode Hove Limited and ran the business with his brother Foad, 28, the sole remaining director and the designated premises superviser.
It said that Emad’s partner, Sara Elisabeth Hohendahl, 23, was the director of the new company but Emad remained the manager of the business and “the face of the company”.
Code Hove is registered at an address in Gordon Mews, Gordon Road, Portslade. It was initially set up by Rahim Abdulkhani, 53, who runs Orsino, across the road from Barcode, which is in the old TSB branch on the corner of Osborne Villas.
A previous director of Barcode Hove Limited was Ali Abdolkhani, 58, who also owns 128 Church Road Limited, a company set up last month, after Barcode was told that it needed a licence.
The licensing panel received an objection from ward councillor Andrew Wealls who wrote that Barcode “has been a nuisance to neighbouring residents”.
Councillor Wealls said: “I have no confidence that the designated premises superviser Foad Abdolkhani is a fit and proper person to undertake this role.
“The premises have been subject to repeated complaints by neighbouring residents to which Mr Abdolkhani has been extremely unresponsive.
“Officers from both the planning enforcement and environmental health departments at Brighton and Hove City Council have struggled to engage with Mr Abdolkhani when dealing with these issues.
“There have been complaints regarding a statutory noise nuisance caused by a noisy flue which Mr Abdolkhani has repeatedly failed to address. It remains a nuisance.
“The flue does not have planning permission and he has repeatedly failed to make an application despite repeated interventions from the council’s Planning Enforcement Department and is subject to a planning enforcement notice.
“Neighbouring residents complain that music is played through speakers on to both Osborne Villas and Church Road at which tables are situated. It has no permission to do so.
“It is in the public domain that Barcode Hove Limited, of which Mr Abdolkhani was sole director and is currently in liquidation, names Brighton and Hove City Council as a creditor for £9,579.98 and HMRC for £130,546.22. Total creditors amount to £193,011.56.
“I do not believe Brighton and Hove City Council can have confidence that Mr Foad Abdolkhani is a responsible person, capable of undertaking the role of designated premises superviser and request that the application is denied on these grounds.”
Six neighbours set out similar objections and a council environmental health officer Scott Castle had also detailed the difficulties experienced by the council in trying to ensure Barcode complied with the law.
Barcode has been relying on temporary event notices to be able to sell alcoholic drinks legally and may now appeal.
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