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A chicken shop in Hampstead has come in for a roasting from its neighbours, who claim the fumes from the restaurant make living above it unbearable.

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The three friends who live above Royal Peri Peri, South End Green, say the smell of cooking fat clings to their clothes and has seeped into the carpet and sofas.

Former flatmates moved out because of the stench and the three pals have been reduced to burning incense and leaving the windows open to try and rid themselves of the smell.

James Boal, 25, who has lived in the flat in South End Road for three years, said: “We’ve had to open our windows because of the intense smell of fried chicken which has put up the heating costs quite a bit.

“One flatmate moved out because they could not handle the smell and then their replacement left as well.”

Camden Council has issued a warning to the fast food shop over the “nuisance”.

Kenny Fillingham, who has lived in the flat for six months, said: “It just stinks of oil and fat and it’s got into our clothes and the furniture.

“I only really noticed it when I went to the gym the other day and then opened up my locker at the end and the smell hit me.

“It’s just embarrassing really to think that you might smell like that and not notice.”

They have also complained about the deep fat friers to the London Fire Brigade and the council, claiming that any fire started by the cooker could rip up through the stairwell and trap them in their flat.

Town hall officials are investigating whether the use of domestic chimneys to pump out the cooking fumes is a breach of planning regulations.

But Mr Fillingham, who works for a television company, has called on the council to step up their efforts.

“If God forbid there was a fire and someone did get injured then the council would be held to account because we have been complaining about this for months now,” said the 24-year-old.

Cllr Chris Knight said the makeshift ventilation system was a fire hazard.

He said: “Apart from the foul odours, the work they have done to turn it into a chicken shop has not complied with any building control regulations because of what they have packed up the chimney.”

Councillor Abdul Hai, cabinet member for community safety, said: “Officers from several services have visited the premises and are working with the owner of the shop to install a suitable extractor fan to ensure that the impact on the residents is dealt with.”

The manager of the chicken shop said: “The business is suffering because the community do not support us – maybe because we’re the only fast food restaurant here.

“But we still have to pay the same rates as everyone else.”

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