Deliveroo wins an extension - such is Camden’s terror of legal costs
- Credit: Archant
Local residents have recorded over 1,100 complaints about the smells, noise, visual clutter, and utter chaos they have caused since they first came on site without planning permission three years ago.
When Deliveroo challenged the council over an enforcement notice to vacate the site, Deliveroo looked set to lose had the council not switched sides at the last moment, abandoned local residents at the hearing and supported Deliveroo.
In the appeal decision Deliveroo was given a stay of execution with conditions intended to make Deliveroo’s operation bearable and safe. Deliveroo was allowed a 14 month “trial” period in which to prove they could honour the conditions. If they couldn’t – they had to leave.
This trial period has just ended. At the planning meeting to decide Deliveroo’s fate, councillors acknowledged the countless breaches of conditions and harm inflicted on the local community, called Deliveroo “objectionable” and “unsuitable” and said they were “inclined” or “strongly inclined” to vote it down. Not one councillor spoke out in favour of Deliveroo. Yet, the vote went eight to five against refusal.
How could this happen?
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Such is Camden’s abject terror of legal costs, all planning officer Richard Limbrick had to do was remind councillors that “Deliveroo would presumably appeal if they were refused permission” and chair Heather Johnson sprang into action. She bulldozed the meeting to an abrupt end and a vote - not on whether to grant or refuse Deliveroo planning permission – but on whether permission to remain should be subject to a further nine month trial period.
And so Deliveroo is still here - for yet another “trial” period, this time on the grounds that because of Covid-19 councillors could not properly assess Deliveroo’s impact on Swiss Cottage and on the ludicrous assumption that in nine more months they could. And, as Limbrick was quick to point out, if it doesn’t “there’s nothing to stop us giving Deliveroo another temporary extension”.
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The council has, in effect, given Deliveroo permission to remain on site forever.
In a sign of things to come, an emboldened Deliveroo, realizing that they will likely never have to leave, have taken to denying reported incidents are breaches of conditions.
Does the picture at the top of this article represent what is going to happen again if Deliveroo knows it can remain on site forever?