A chain sushi restaurant in Reading has explained why a plan to add alcoholic drink takeaway and delivery to its menu has been withdrawn.

The Itsu at Reading Gate Retail Park has been selling Asahi beer and wine in its restaurant since it opened in August 2021.

But in July, it put forward a bid to start delivering alcohol using Deliveroo, and allowing customers to consume their drinks outside the restaurant.

This was done by submitted an application to sell alcohol off the premises to Reading Borough Council’s licensing team.

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But that licence application has since been withdrawn, as the chain believes it is no longer required.

A spokesperson for Itsu explained: “The premises is already licensed to sell alcohol via the premises licence for sales on the premises during the existing times stated on the licence.

“The site has been making use of the off-sales notifications under the Business & Planning Act 2020 since launching as Itsu so can currently sell alcohol for consumption on and off the premises.

“The Government stated in May that temporary off-sales would not be extended beyond September 30, so we made an application.

“But then, a while later, it was confirmed they had changed their stance and do intend to extend off sales for a further year (albeit the regulations are yet to be finalised) and therefore there was no need for us to proceed with the full variation application and so it was withdrawn.”

Guidance on temporary sale of alcohol off premises contained in the Business & Planning Act 2020 was updated in September last year.

This guidance allows businesses which have a licence to sell alcohol on premises to sell it off premises as well.

The change was made by the Government in an effort to help businesses recover and facilitate social distancing following the coronavirus pandemic.

It is understood Itsu is waiting for regulations to be finalised to determine whether a licensing application is required or not.

Itsu took over from the old Pizza Hut at the Retail Park, which closed during the pandemic.

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It caused a stir shortly after it opened when member of the public Peter Bowyer photographed heaps of rubbish being dumped outside the restaurant.

At the time, a spokesperson replied saying that the build up was down to missed collections and that steps had been taken to make sure that would never happen again.

Reading Gate Retail Park is also home to a KFC and a McDonald’s, and ‘big box’ stores such as  TK Maxx, B&Q, Currys and Smyths Toys.

There is a longer established Itsu located in Broad Street in the town centre.