A Bristol-Italian family who face losing the restaurant they’ve called home for over half a century have amped up their fight against developers planning to turn the business into a block of student flats.
Vincezo’s was opened on Park Street by Naples-born Vincenzo Ricci back in 1970, and is thought to be the oldest pizza house in the city.
The three Ricci siblings have since taken over the business following the passing of their beloved parents, but were left shocked when the building’s owners Urbina revealed plans to develop 16 student flats in its place.
Then, in December, a judge approved the developer’s plan to terminate the lease of the building for redevelopment, but Isabella, Rafaele and Giuseppe have vowed to keep fighting the decision and have now submitted an appeal.
Matt Resch, a long-standing family friend who originally launched a petition to save Vincenzo’s which amassed more than 5,400 signatures, is heading the campaign on behalf of the Ricci siblings.
He told BristolWorld: “We’re going to fight this all the way. Our appeal was submitted just last week.
“It will be reviewed and accepted [for a hearing], we hope, within the next few weeks.
“We’re also working on crowdsourcing to help with legal fees.
“This family aren’t in the restaurant to become millionaires. They do it to feed the community and keep a roof over their heads.
“They don’t have the money to fight a big company.”
Mr Resch added that the family were willing to negotiate with developers and had asked in their appeal if they would consider retaining the restaurant while building the student flats around it.
“The scheme would be reworked,” he said. “Surely that way, everyone will win.”
Speaking to BristolWorld before Christmas, Isabella Ricci said: “The threat of eviction hangs over us and we’ve already invested a lot of time and money trying to save our family restaurant.
“It’s exhausting to be honest, and expensive.
“Someone from the council even told me ‘you can just find a job somewhere else’ which made me want to laugh and cry.
“I’m a business owner, this restaurant is all I know, I’m pretty stuffed without it to be honest.”
BristolWorld approached David Pigott, director of Urbina, over the appeal.
He said no decision had yet been made by a judge to allow the requested appeal.