Preston takeaway is shut down

The Gourmet on Church Street in Preston

The Gourmet on Church Street in Preston

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One of Preston’s most popular takeaways has been closed down after Environmental Health inspectors were called in.

Officers attended Gourmet in Church Street, Preston, after a businessman who has an office above the takeaway reported he found a cockroach on his desk.

Preston Council declined to comment on what was found during the inspection, but the business was closed down after a gas leak was discovered at the premises.

A council spokesman said it would be working with the business owners to be compliant over necessary food standards.

The takeaway was served with a notice to improve hygiene last year, and the premises have been the 
focus of a string of licensing committee investigations over foul odours under different names and management.

Simon Neighbour, environmental health manager at Preston City Council, said: “We are working with the business owner following a visit to the premises after receiving a complaint about cockroaches.

“The premises were closed on Friday, May 30, due to, among other issues, a problem with the gas supply identified by the National Grid. Our Environmental Health team were on site to ensure public health wasn’t at risk.

“At this time we carried out a food hygiene inspection, the result of which will be published on the FSA website in 14 days.”

Colin Walmsley, managing director of NW Forwarders, above the takeaway, said it was the latest in a series of problems at the takeaway.

In November 2012, when trading as Dixi Plus, the then takeaway owners had their late night licence suspended after breaching its hours.

Preston Council’s licensing committee also demanded that new equipment was fitted to remove “rancid” odour problems which had been brought up at licensing meetings in September 2012 and June 2012.

On the latest issue, Mr Walmsley said: “I got into work one day and there was this inch-long animal on my desk.

“I was able to catch it and give it to the Environmental Health inspectors, who later came back to me and said it was a German cockroach.

“Then they came back on Friday morning and went through the empty office next door and the takeaway.”

He added: “There has been an issue with odours coming from the takeaway that has been going on for nearly seven years. We would come into work in the morning and wonder what smell we would have to put up with that day.

“Very often it would be a greasy, chicken fat odour, but there have been times it has smelt more like gas. This particularly occurred around the stairwell on Mondays.”

He added: “This takeaway, under different ownership and different names, has been to Preston Council’s licencing committee several times, but nothing ever really seems to get sorted.

“All that seems to happen is that it gets to a point and the business is sold to someone else, seemingly without them being told there’s licensing issues.

“Then when we make a complaint, the owners become increasingly surly toward us.”

Mr Walmsley said the rear of the property is also often filled with rubbish, and a refrigerator has been left outside for six months.

A spokesman for National Grid said: “We were called at 6.19pm on Friday to investigate a report of a smell of gas near the cooker at the restaurant and found a gas escape.

“We therefore turned off the gas supply as a safety precaution (standard practice) and advised the restaurant owners to call out a Gas Care registered gas engineer to further investigate and repair the problem.”

The takeaway achieved a hygiene rating of one in its last published Food Standards hygiene rating from October 2013.

The range is from 0-5, with five being the highest. A score of one means ‘major improvement necessary’.

Nobody from the takeaway was available for comment yesterday.