A new café is set to open in North London with a “struggling” supermarket being divided in two by its owner. Diana Hotel, a three-star guest house in Harlesden, applied to Brent Council for a licence to open a new café next door on the High Street. It was approved on Thursday, September 7.
The same owner runs West Supermarket, which will be cut in half to make space for Paradise Café and Restaurant. The café will open from 7am to 11pm Monday to Saturday and from 8am to 11pm on Sunday, serving alcohol every day until 10.30pm.
One resident had claimed the supermarket has a long history of fly-tipping in the High Street and that the new café would add to the problems, however a representative of the business claimed that was likely down to a resident living above the shop.
The resident didn’t turn up to the hearing, but in a response sent to the council, they said: “West Supermarket has a long history of fly-tipping plus illegal parking and it’s expected that Paradise Café will operate in the same manner.”
The resident said CCTV footage from earlier this month would show a staff member “carrying several bags of black bag waste out of the shop to fly-tip on the pavement”. They added a claim that “waste in unbranded bags” are regularly dumped outside Diana Hotel.
Diana Hotel’s agent, Manuel Rocha, said the supermarket was “struggling” and “not very successful” so it is being divided into two – one side being maintained as a supermarket and the other side to become Paradise Café. Mr Rocha defended the applicant in the meeting, saying the problem was with the supermarket and the café has “no interest” in fly-tipping.
He said: “The issue is with the supermarket because the café is not open yet. The neighbours think that, because it is the same manager, the same problems could happen. In reality the complaint is with West Supermarket, not this application.”
He added: “There is a problem with the rubbish because there is a neighbour who lives upstairs that sometimes puts rubbish outside and people think maybe it is from the supermarket. There is no interest from the business to put rubbish outside illegally because we would end up with a fine and there is no record of this.”
Concerns were also raised about vans ‘parking illegally’ during deliveries, which the resident claims has happened outside West Supermarket. There is no parking or loading allowed at any time outside the premises due to the potential danger and obstruction of vehicles stopping on the busy road.
However, the resident said evidence was brought before the council last year that showed a delivery truck “parking dangerously” whilst goods were “dragged across the road” away from a pedestrian crossing.
Mr Rocha said that, due to the reduction in size of the supermarket, the owner will use his private car for deliveries in the future which will reduce the impact. He said he “understands the concerns” from neighbours but because there are so many businesses on the road there will “always be problems with deliveries and rubbish”. He added: “It will be good for us to find a solution that everyone will be happy [with].”
Brent Council’s licensing inspector had originally made a representation against the application which outlined a series of conditions that would need to be met before it could be approved, however this was withdrawn when the applicant agreed to all of them. The conditions include installing CCTV and making it available to the council, only serving alcohol to people eating a meal, and not selling high strength beers or ciders.
The committee acknowledged that issues with fly-tipping and deliveries existed but highlighted that they are common on many roads like this. The licence was approved after it was determined that it would have “no effect” on the issues. In fact, it was concluded that installing the CCTV may in fact have a positive impact on reducing fly-tipping.