Westminster Council fails to shut down Shisha Restaurant

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Goldwell Properties Limited conducted the Appeal on behalf of the restaurant owner

Westminster Council has failed in its attempt to close down a Middle East restaurant on the Edgware Road, London, after a protracted legal battle.

The Planning Inspector, after a 3 day public inquiry, concluded that the user had been continuous for 10 years and was immune from enforcement.

The owner, Mr. Hamed, had appealed against an enforcement notice by Westminster Council seeking the closure of the restaurant.

Goldwell Properties Ltd conducted the appeal on behalf of the owner.

The Council claimed that the current use of the site as a mixed use restaurant was illegal. However, according to court documents, Mr Hamed had opened a restaurant on the site at 71 Edgware Road 17 years ago, and had run a mixed use restaurant with shisha and takeaway use on a continuous basis for that period.

In the planning appeal, in documents submitted to the Court, the Council argued that the current mixed use had only commenced in 2009 when a new manager took over, and the use ceased at that point when the restaurant was temporarily closed for refurbishment.

The Planning Inspector, Bridget Campbell, rejected, in the Planning Inspectorate's published decision, the Council’s arguments and concluded that “The documentation drawn to my attention by the Council is insufficient to cast doubt on the Appellants’ version of events and in particular the evidence of Mr. Hamed who has first-hand knowledge of the way the premises has operated from its first use as a restaurant.”

Premises which have 10 years continuous use starting from the date of the breach are immune from any planning enforcement action.

The planning appeal was conducted by Goldwell Properties, estate agents in Surrey, using a direct access barrister, Michael Rudd.

“This was a difficult case to run, as it required the client to produce detailed evidence of the use of the site over a period of 17 years. Somewhat bizarrely, crucial evidence was provided by an Israeli tourist, who took random photos of the site in mid-2000, posting photos on Flickr, which downloads were accepted in evidence at the public inquiry,” said David Horsfall of Goldwell Properties.

The Decision Date was 20th May 2015 and Appeal reference is APP/X5990/C/14/2221704.

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David Horsfall

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