The Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford, has waded into a row over the threatened closure of a Cardiff Chinese restaurant due to noise and smells.
Drakeford has written to Cardiff Council, alongside Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan, petitioning to keep the Summer Palace in Llandaff high street open. He also published the letter on his Twitter account.
Cardiff’s EH team served the restaurant with an abatement notice for noise and smoke. This was not complied with and so legal action proceeded under section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The issue relates to a noisy extractor fan. The case was due to be heard today but has been adjourned until 13 February.
The restaurant, which has been there for 33 years, is popular and has local support. But the reason this fairly ordinary case attracted media attention was because the complainant is reported to be Sir Gary Robert Hickinbottom, a high-ranking member of the judiciary. He and his wife bought a property next door to the restaurant in 2016. Lord Justice Hickinbottom presided over the Heathrow expansion high court battle.
Cardiff Council said it cannot comment on the story until the case goes to court.
CIEH Wales director Kate Thompson said: “It’s a little disappointing that the First Minister has so publicly pledged his support.
“It’s of no consequence that the restaurant has a food hygiene rating of 5. Ratings are given for food hygiene standards. Noise and odour are not within the scope of the food hygiene rating scheme.
“Clearly the council is satisfied a nuisance exists and is duty bound to serve an abatement notice. The restaurant now has to comply with the terms of the abatement notice.”