Victorious event organiser to open new restaurant

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THE organiser of Victorious Festival has been given the green light to set up a new family-friendly restaurant.

James Ralls, who put together the successful event on Southsea Common last month, is to transform the former Bamboo restaurant in Palmerston Road.

Portsmouth City Council’s licensing sub-committee gave the venture the thumbs-up yesterday.

It means Mr Ralls can now pour £150,000 into refurbishing the empty venue, which has been closed for around a year, and have it open by Christmas.

Mr Ralls, director of Kehellers Gourmet Cuisine Limited, intends to run the venue in a similar vein to his other restaurant – The Belle Isle, in Osborne Road.

‘We love the area,’ he said.

‘We had been looking at places in Southampton to expand but thought we would expand first in our home city.

‘We want to bring something new to this area.’

Cllr Les Stevens, who chaired the decision meeting, said: ‘It brings an empty building back to life.

‘It should be fine if it is run along the same lines as The Belle Isle.’

A name for the restaurant, near the bottom of the street’s southern precinct, has not yet been decided.

Alcohol will be served from 11am to one minute before 11pm Sunday to Thursday, with the premises closing half an hour later.

On Fridays and Saturdays booze will be served from 11am to midnight and the venue will close on both days at 12.30am.

As reported, the council is carrying out works to open up the pedestrian zone one way to traffic to help businesses.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed there were no major traffic disruptions over Victorious weekend, despite there being huge number of visitors to the seafront.

The council said traffic levels were similar to a normal weekend and the authority has put the success down to the organisers and officers working on a traffic management scheme.

The park and ride set up at 1000 Lakeside was reported to be 80 to 90 per cent full and the one off the M275 in Tipner was almost full at times.

Cllr Linda Symes, Tory cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said she has received 150 emails from people around the country praising the event.