Geisha restaurant in Jesmond “forced” to close after disagreement with Newcastle City Council

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They are now looking to open a public enquiry.

Geisha Bar and Restaurant announced that they have closed their original restaurant which is based in Jesmond on Sandyford Road.

The bar and restaurant have another two restaurants, one of which is named Geisha Italia Grill, and the other is named Geisha Asia, which will officially open its doors to the public on Wednesday, April 19. Both of these restaurants are located on Front Street in Benton.

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Geisha Bar and Restaurant posted the restaurant closure announcement of their Jesmond location via social media, with a lengthy statement explaining the reasons behind why they have had to stop trading.

They wrote: “It is with a heavy heart and deep regret that we are forced to announce the closure of our original venue, Geisha Bar and Restaurant based in Jesmond, Newcastle.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but one that we had no choice in due to a number of reasons which were making it impossible for us to maintain trading.”

They thanked their customers “who have travelled from both near and far” to dine in their restaurant. They said: “Your loyalty and fantastic following on social media have been phenomenal and we truly appreciate it.”

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They continued: “We have now relocated to Front Street, Benton with two new restaurants, Geisha Italia, open now, and Geisha Asia which will be opening its doors on Wednesday 19th April and following in the footsteps of our Sandyford venue. We hope you will all visit us at our new restaurants to continue enjoying the amazing Geisha experience we have so far provided.”

The restaurant then said that the decision behind closing was “forced” by Newcastle City Council.

The statement read: “We believe that Geisha Jesmond has been the victim of a series of misdoings from Newcastle City Council and planners.

“We have been victimised, persecuted and bullied by the planners since opening our doors in 2020. They have refused at every stage to meet with our planning consultants to discuss anything that would allow us to expand and modernise the building at Sandyford, which has already given Newcastle an amazing venue that has become a social media icon for the city. The proposed expansion would have created local jobs for over 100 people and remain a “must go” multi-cultural venue for Newcastle city to be proud of.”

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The statement further detailed that the exterior of the restaurant was changed on several occasions after being instructed to remove the murals of Japanese Geisha girls, which were deemed offensive by the council.

Geisha Bar and Restaurant in Jesmond.Geisha Bar and Restaurant in Jesmond.
Geisha Bar and Restaurant in Jesmond. | Google Street View

Geisha Bar and Restaurant are now looking to request a public enquiry to be opened.

A Newcastle City Council spokesperson said: “We are disappointed to read of the allegations that have been made, many of which are made without any evidence to support them. We have endeavoured to work proactively with the business owners to ensure they can operate successfully in accordance with the planning permission that they obtained.

“Formal enforcement action was taken in the summer of 2021 to remove unauthorised structures at the front of the premises. The business owners subsequently appealed to the Planning Inspectorate against the Enforcement Notice and their appeal was dismissed in February 2022. The owners have now complied with the requirements of the Enforcement Notice.

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“We always aim to work constructively with all businesses in the city, but we also have a duty to ensure all premises operate within the confines of the planning system.”

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