Pasta Evangelists wants to open new London restaurant but neighbours are in 'serious trouble'

Close-up of a woman having pasta. Hand of a female eating pasta sitting at dining table.
-Credit: (Image: alvarez/Getty Images)

Popular meal kit service Pasta Evangelists has unveiled plans to open its second-ever restaurant in London, also offering takeaways and pasta-making classes. The fresh pasta company already has a physical branch in Harrods and wants to open another in Richmond town centre.

But residents raised concerns about the plans, submitted to Richmond Council, particularly as the venue on Hill Street is in a cumulative impact zone, where the granting of licences is strictly limited to avoid adding to disturbance in the area. Peter Willan, representing Friends of Richmond Green and the Richmond Society, told the council's licensing hearing on July 2 that he did not think the restaurant needed to sell booze.

With thousands of people visiting Richmond on summer weekends, Mr Willan said: "I think it’s just another takeaway and frankly the town is absolutely saturated with licensed premises in serious trouble. Many of the restaurants, particularly the middle-market ones, are in deep trouble, I would suggest.

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General shot of Richmond town centre
The plans were submitted to Richmond Council -Credit:Grahame Larter

"If you walk around the town… they’re just having to close on some days of the week and there’s nobody in them in the weekdays, so I think there’s grave concern if we’re adding alcohol to this and hopefully you can be successful without that."

The plans, if granted, would allow the restaurant to sell booze from 9am to 10pm on Mondays to Sundays, and stay open for 30 minutes later.

Solicitor Mark Browning, representing applicant Amish Patel, director of Ara Pasta Limited, said Pasta Evangelists wants to expand by opening new restaurants, and that this would be its second physical branch - bringing something 'something exciting' to Richmond. He said Mr Patel had initially applied for much later hours and had since cut them to a 'sensible time' and agreed to conditions to address residents' concerns.

Mr Browning argued the licence should be granted as an exception to the council's cumulative impact policy as the restaurant is only small and does not promote drinking, with booze only to be sold to customers having a meal. He added: "Pasta Evangelists is very much about bringing authentic Italian pasta to the community of Richmond and it is hoped that people will engage with pasta-making, which is a fundamental part of it."

Richmond Council will publish its decision on the application in the coming days.

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