Deliveroo in battle with council to keep takeaway kitchens
Residents in Dobson Close complain about 15 hour a day food delivery operation
14 February, 2019 — By Tom Foot
DELIVEROO, the food delivery giant, is fighting Camden Council attempts to shut down takeaway kitchens in Swiss Cottage where neighbours have complained of noise and smell.
A planning inspector will decide what should happen to the former warehouse building behind Finchley Road. The council maintains the site, which backs onto the council estate at Dobson Close, was unlawfully turned into kitchens for businesses running takeaway services.
But Deliveroo’s legal team says planning permission was not needed. Camden demanded that the operation – a series of kitchens where moped drivers collect food – shut down last year, but it has continued while Deliveroo appeals.
Swiss Cottage councillor Leo Cassarani said: “They know the planning appeal will take a long time and can continue to operate until then. When Deliveroo moved in they said: ‘We are allowed to use this building’ but Camden was saying: ‘You can’t.’ “The council said they had to take down their extractors and they had three months to comply – but they decided to appeal.”
A verdict is not expected until June.
He added: “Camden is the first case of this kind. It will be a very high profile and landmark case that will affect other buildings and other councils.”
Cllr Cassarani was interviewed on a Panorama television special a fortnight ago which claimed the company was taking advantage of “planning loopholes” in setting up its Editions range of kitchens. Residents at Dobson Close say they are disturbed by food-ferrying drivers working up to 15 hours a day.
Elaine Bodenitz, who lives on the estate, said: “They’ve been told to shut down, but they are still operating there. It’s been terrible since it opened – noise, smell and it is dangerous on the pavement when you are going up to Finchley Road. “It is incredible that no one has yet been injured.”
The company estimates that more than 190 moped journeys could be made in and out of the site every hour at peak times. The drivers can regularly be seen waiting for orders at a ramp in Finchley Road, opposite the Odeon cinema.
A Deliveroo statement said: “We have been advised by leading experts in planning law that Editions can lawfully operate under the existing planning permission and does not require a change-of-use permission – a decision which has been backed up by councils across the country who have looked into Editions’ operation and concluded that it can lawfully operate under the same use class.” I
t added: “Deliveroo is committed to being a good neighbour and we always work closely with communities to ensure our sites benefit residents.”