RESTAURATEUR Pierre Levicky has been fined £1500 in court after failing to deal with noise complaints about an extractor fan in his flagship New Town eatery.
The 52-year-old chef was served with a noise abatement notice for his Pierre Victoire restaurant in Eyre Place after the fan was blamed for causing “vibrations” in the flat above.
Despite repeated visits from the city council’s environmental wardens, Levicky did not solve the problem and was taken to court under the Environmental Protection Act.
Sentence had been deferred on Levicky for a year after he pleaded guilty to the charge last May, but he again violated the order in August after noise complaints continued.
Sheriff Gordon Liddle told Levicky that he was “slightly disturbed” that violations had come after the deferred sentence as he fined the Lyon-born chef at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday.
During the long-running battle with the council over the noisy fan, Levicky had also been accused of assaulting environmental warden Barry Inglis by pushing him, but his not guilty plea was accepted.
Following the sentencing, Levicky told the Evening News: “I’m very happy. We are pleased it has all bene resolved.”
The court heard previously that a noise order had been served on Levicky, of Eyre Place, and he admitted failing to comply with it “without reasonable excuse”.
Levicky was given the notice on November 3, 2009 and given 60 days to comply. He was given an extension to carry out the work but after the noise was re-measured he was found to be in breach on May 27, 2010.
Council chiefs said the noise remained ongoing despite Levicky’s guilty plea, and a further notice was served on July 13 last year before the problem was finally remedied.
Levicky’s defence solicitor, James Stephenson, told the court yesterday that his client had spent £1000 sorting the noisy fan which had been causing “vibrations” in the wood-floored flat above.
The court heard that the owner of the flat was forced to cut the rent to its tenant as a result. Mr Stephenson said Levicky took £2200 out of the restaurant each month, with £1000 being sent to Spain where his ex-wife and 11-year-old son live.
He added that Levicky had owned three restaurants, but was forced to close his Chez Jules fish restaurant on Cockburn Street, which caused the business “financial difficulties”.
Sheriff Liddle said: “It’s slightly disturbing that things went beyond the deferral for sentence period. But I’m satisfied that it was an ongoing problem which has finally been resolved. Some very substantial penalties can be imposed but I don’t believe this is a case where I have to go to those extremes.”
Sheriff Liddle ordered him to pay the £1500 fine at a rate of £100 a month.
A city council spokeswoman said: “The council will not hesitate to take action against those who disturb others with illegal levels of noise.
“Most cases are resolved informally but regrettably others require formal action. We’re pleased that the court has taken a serious view of this matter.”
FROM VICTOIRE to DEFEAT
PIERRE Levicky arrived in Edinburgh in the 1980s. He worked as a chef at various restaurants before spotting the potential in Victoria Street.
Scraping together £18,000, he opened the first Pierre Victoire. In its 1980s and 1990s heyday, Pierre Victoire expanded rapidly to 147, mainly franchised, restaurants. But it ended in disaster in June 1998 when the firm went into receivership.
Levicky left Edinburgh but returned around ten years later. However, his second spell in the city has not been trouble-free.
In June last year, he faced charges of giving customers food poisoning. But a sheriff cleared him after ruling that his interview by an environmental health officer was inadmissible.
Last summer, he closed his Chez Jules Fish restaurant, leaving ten people out of a job, days after blaming building work for a 60 per cent drop in custom. Some staff said he closed the doors without any notice.