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Prohibition boss devastated at being 'forced to close'

Now Jamie Allen plans new town centre food venture

John Garvey

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John Garvey

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Raise a glass to Prohibition

IT’S official – Newbury town centre’s Prohibition bar restaurant and nightspot has gone for good.

Owner Jamie Allen said Kennet Centre management had activated a clause in his lease which allowed it to give him notice to quit if it wanted to redevelop.

He said: “I’m gutted. I put everything into Prohibition.

“They say they want mine, plus another two units behind, for a big redevelopment.”

The relationship between the parties has reportedly soured, with bailiffs being involved.

Difficulties with the lease caused financial problems from the proposed launch date in 2015, said Mr Allen, who acknowledged at the time: “Being a tiny independent competing with the chains is difficult.”

The venture finally opened in February 2016 after a change in ownership at the Kennet Shopping centre reportedly caused more delays.

Mr Allen still runs the successful Hermitage pub The Fox, and, despite the setback of losing Prohibition, he has plans for the future.

He said: “I’m planning to launch an Asian fast food venture in Newbury town centre, starting with just a van and two woks.

“It would be me and my executive chef.

“The idea is that you choose your meat, then a sauce and a selection of veg. It would be ready within three minutes.”

He added: “It’s a bit different from everything else out there and we could hire ourselves out for private parties, festivals and so on.”

Fans of Prohibition took to social media to express frustration at the venture’s lack of longevity.

Mr Allen said: “We’re gutted, but we’d like to thank all our clientele for their past custom.”

Senior staff at the Kennet Shopping centre were said to be in an all-day management meeting yesterday (Wednesday) and had not responded to requests for a comment.

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Article comments

  • DaveMundy

    22/02/2017 - 09:09

    Hope your facts are correct, SDM36! I must say I've been there only three times, but found it to be just the sort of place Newbury needs, catering for a clientelle who wanted somewhere relatively civilised to go, with a bit of variety on offer, in terms of entertainment! As you point out, corporate greed seems to be at the route of it and my heart goes out to the proprietor, who wanted to make a real success of it!! Oh, and as usual, I blame our blinkered, asinine and partly-corrupt, but certainly barren council for allowing the Kennet Centre to be owned by an off-shore company in the first place!!

    Reply

  • Bombey

    18/02/2017 - 11:11

    A 'big redevelopment'....into 500 flats...

    Reply

  • sdm36

    16/02/2017 - 14:02

    The article omits to mention that the Kennet Centre was sold by a Company based in Jersey, and I suspect the company that bought it was also based offshore to enjoy the tax benefits.. So those guys are making money whether there's any shops or restaurants there or not. Other than tax avoidance what possible reason would a second rate shopping centre in Newbury be owned by offshore entities who use a PO Box as a physical address. Why is HMRC not doing anything about these blatant transgressions? I note that in the last 5 years HMRC have only managed to successfully prosecute 1 individual of Ultra High Net worth for tax fraud, whilst in the last year, 5117 people have been done for benefit fraud.. Trebles all round for the bigwigs in their 'all day meeting'.

    Reply

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