St Albans restaurant receives go-ahead for takeaway alcohol sales

Verdi's in Clarence Park, St Albans.

Verdi's in Clarence Park, St Albans. - Credit: Archant

A bid to allow takeaway alcohol to be sold in a St Albans park has received the green light.

Terenzio “Terry” Di Francesco, the owner of Verdi’s Trattoria Italian restaurant on the corner of Clarence Park, had been selling pizza and pasta alongside pints of draught lager, Aperol spritzers and Prosecco in plastic glasses during lockdown.

As the weather improved in the following weeks, the park was soon packed with picnicking households looking to enjoy the festival-style atmosphere.

But many left behind mounds of rubbish in their wake, prompting Verdi’s to introduce a deposit scheme on plastic glasses, but also resulting in a backlash from some local residents and intervention by the police for breaching their licensing restrictions.

The restaurant subsequently applied for a permanent change to its licence giving them permission to sell alcohol for consumption on the eight wooden tables they have outside the restaurant, as well as for takeaway.

In response to the changes they say they have supplied additional bins to assist with litter management within Clarence Park, brought in a policy of challenging anyone who looks under 25 and attempts to buy alcohol, and stop serving food and drink 30 minutes before the park closes to encourage groups to disperse.

A meeting of the district council’s licensing committee took place last week, with 50 representations received in support of the application and 72 objecting.

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However, although those objecting made valid concerns that members of the public would be expected to make in relation to the proposals, they failed to meet the evidential criteria necessary under the four licensing objectives of prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.

There were also no representations from responsible authorities, the police or Environmental Health Authority about crime and disorder and public nuisance.

Terry said after the decision: “Clarence Park will now be a family place to chill and enjoy! We are so lucky to be there and will do our best to continue to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible with minimum impact.”