Casa Cruz licence suspended for six weeks after lockdown breach

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Casa Cruz licence suspended for six weeks after Rita Ora birthday lockdown breach

Related tags Casa Cruz Rita Ora Restaurant Coronavirus lockdown

The Notting Hill restaurant that hosted singer Rita Ora’s birthday party during England’s second national lockdown has had its premises licence suspended for six weeks following a review.

Metropolitan Police had urged the local authority to revoke Casa Cruz’s licence​, however the licensing sub-committee for Kensington and Chelsea Council has instead chosen to suspend it with conditions.

In one of the UK’s most high profile breaches of Coronavirus rules, Ora threw a party on Saturday 22 November for 17 people at the South American-inspired Clarendon Road restaurant.

The party had originally been intended to be held at the home of a friend of Ora's but was moved to the restaurant - which had been hired to cater - at the last minute.

Officers described the party as one of the most 'egregious and notorious' lockdown breaches during a Kensington and Chelsea Council licensing sub-committee hearing last week.

Giving a summary of their decision, the committee decided it was 'necessary and proportionate' to suspend the restaurant's licence for six weeks.

They also called for the former general manager, Mr Scottie Bhattarai, to not be permitted entry to the venue at any time or to be employed or act on behalf of the licence holder.

Bhattarai, who has been sacked by the restaurant, was allegedly offered £5,000 for the use of the venue, according to council documents.

A lawyer representing Casa Cruz told the committee that the restaurant's director, Nicholas Fallows, had no knowledge of the event.

The £5000 fee for use of the restaurant was never paid to Mr Bhattarai by Ora or any of her associates.

In order to keep its licence Casa Cruz must also provide 'extra safeguards to ensure CCTV is operational'.

The venue was found to have breached licencing rules by not allowing police into the premises and for failing to provide them with CCTV footage of the venue on the night of Ora's birthday.

Shortly after details of the party emerged, Ora issued an apology and stated that she had voluntarily paid a £10,000 fine.

She was subsequently forced to apologise a second time when it emerged that she should have been self-isolating at the time of the party having recently performed at a private concert in Egypt.

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