The Western Morning News July 2st 1981

Judge over-rules Magistrates' decision to bar floating restaurant

A plan to moor the old Dart paddle steamer Compton Castle at Lemon Quay, Truro, and to use her as a floating restaurant with a drinks licence was given approval yesterday at Bodmin Crown Court.

Mr. David Worlledge appealed against the refusal by Truro Justices in March to grant him a full drinks licence for the vessel, which is lying derelict at Looe.

He intends to spend £135,000 refurbishing the paddle steamer, which used to ferry passengers on the Dart and which, in recent times, had a chequered history as a floating restaurant at Kingsbridge.

Yesterday, Mr. Worlledge amended his plans, so that the Compton Castle would be to all intents and purposes a restaurant with drinks being served at tables only, rather than as a floating public house as was his original intention.

After hearing the decision of Judge Clarke, Mr. Worlledge said that his first plans were to complete the purchase of the Compton Castle and have her towed to Falmouth for renovations, before being moved to Truro in time for the opening at Easter.

The conditions imposed on the licence, some of which had been suggested by Mr. Worlledge, were that during each mid-day session, drinks would be supplied only to people seated at tables, and, in the evening sales would be limited to tables and would be ancillary to a meal.

Sales to people attending bona fide private functions would be possible only in a separate part of the vessel, and there would be no off-sales.

Mr. John Littler, representing Mr. Worlledge, said that there had been discussions with parties objecting to the licence beforehand. Mid-Cornwall Licenced Victualiers' Association had decided that in view of the restrictions suggested by Mr. Worlledge it would not pursue its opposition.

The effect of the conditions would be that at lunch times, drinks would be dispensed only by waiters and waitresses who would attend the tables and there would be no open bar.

Mr. Littler said that the site for the vessel at Lemon Quay was near a car park for 180 cars. The quay was owned by Carrlck District Council which was prepared to enter into a lease. Mr. Worlledge would spend £20,000 on the quay and a further £135,000 on the vessel. The scheme had been referred to the English Tourist Board which was making a significant grant towards the cost.

Mr. Worlledge would also enter into a lease where one of the terms was that he had to take out a bond for £25,000 which would put right any breach.

The judge said that the numbers on board should not exceed 245 and that there should be a marine survey each year, produced to the licensing justices, on both the state of the vessel and its decorative appearance.