‘Battle’ leaves sour taste for smokehouse

The wooden front of Bare Grills in Richmond Street.

The wooden front of Bare Grills in Richmond Street. - Credit: Archant

A WESTOn businessman says he is close to ‘pulling the plug’ on a £70,000 venture in the town after the latest in a series of disputes with the council.

Chris Kimitri and son Vas say they have ploughed tens of thousands of pounds into creating a new restaurant in Richmond Street, titled Bare Grills, which would be the first smokehouse in Weston.

But the pair have been hit by a number of planning disputes with North Somerset Council – most recently an enforcement notice to remove the exterior design of the building (pictured) built entirely of recycled wood.

Chris told the Mercury other areas earmarked for development had been warmly welcomed by local councils, but the problems in Weston had created an ‘ongoing battle’.

The premises has previously been refused an alcohol license due to concerns over a request for it be a joint licence with neighbouring Sin nightclub. It has yet to receive permission to open.

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Chris said: “A lot of what’s gone on so far has been through mistakes but now it’s just an ongoing battle, and it’s made me consider pulling the plug a few times.

“If we have done things wrong then fair enough, but the council aren’t telling us how to change it or giving any support.

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“We want to make the only smokehouse in town, we’ve done it properly and got the best equipment in. We have earmarked places in Bristol, Exeter and Taunton and those councils can’t do enough to help us, but it’s not been the same here.

“Because of the problems we’ve had here I’ve been to all the other councils to check we will be alright with them – they don’t have a problem with us, they like what we’re doing.

“In all the years I have been involved in this trade this is the smallest business I have tried to put together, but it has had the biggest issues.

“The problem lies with the licence and everything else seems to have come out of that.”

Mr Kimitri’s son Vas, who will run the business, said: “We wanted to open two months ago but we’ve been repeatedly pushed back.

“If this was our only project we would have had to give up by now because we would be finished financially. There comes a time where you have to question the point in it all.”

The Mercury contacted North Somerset Council but received no response at the time of going to press.

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