A food delivery company has withdrawn its "dark kitchens" from Swiss Cottage after a protracted battle.

The Deliveroo Editions operation had initially operated without permission until Camden Council enforcement action saw its case considered by a planning inspector in 2019.

After a temporary planning permission from the inspector was extended by the council, Deliveroo appealed after a bid for retrospective planning permission was turned down.

However this week the operator has thrown in the towel.

Edie Raff, who lives near the site and campaigned against it, said "the neighbourhood is ecstatic".

She added: "We are really puzzled as to why planning officers felt they had to support Deliveroo through this.

"We wish we understood because it made it harder for us. Maybe they had their reasons but we don't know."

Former Conservative candidate Marx de Morais said: "Deliveroo tried to sneak into our neighbourhood with their dark kitchen but the community banded together to put a stop to it. We showed them what it means to mess with the wrong crowd.

"Camden Council and Deliveroo didn't count on our determination to fight back. We're proud to say we won.

"Cheers to teamwork and perserverance - we proved that even a powerful international company like Deliveroo can't stand up to the strength of a British community."

The History

Deliveroo had been operating at the site since 2017 but in 2019 ended up before a planning inspector due to enforcement action by Camden Council.

A planning inquiry was held after Camden Council turned down Deliveroo's retrospective application for a change of use from industrian use at 115-119 Finchley Road in May 2018.

This was seven months after the council told the food delivery company it needed to apply for planning permission, advice Deliveroo disagreed with.

One woman discharged herself from hospital to tell the planning inquiry that the Deliveroo Editions kitchen was causing “havoc”.

In September 2019 the inspector, Diane Lewis, granted the delivery company a 14-month temporary planning permission.

In 2021 it submitted a retrospective planning application for permanent commercial kitchens and a delivery centre in Finchley Road.

It was then awarded a further nine-month temporary permission by Camden Council.

On April 7 last year councillors voted to reject the proposal on the grounds that it was unsafe for riders and too intensive for residents living around the site.

A spokesperson told the Ham&High the operation would "remain open" pending an appeal.

A Deliveroo spokesperson said: "We are proud to have served Swiss Cottage with our delivery-only kitchens for six years and, now, all customers served by this site will be able to order from other, nearby Editions sites and our Swiss Cottage restaurant partners will have the opportunity to operate from alternative locations."

The spokesperson said Deliveroo has "always listened to and repeatedly engaged with residents to take their feedback on board and made changes to our operations as a result, for example by serving the site with e-vehicles". 

They added: "We continue to believe that we are operating under the correct planning status at the Swiss Cottage site."

Cllr Danny Beales, cabinet member for new homes, jobs and community investment, said: "Last week Deliveroo withdrew their appeal and notified the council that they made the decision to close the business in May and vacate the premises in August this year. 

"The council will be monitoring the site to ensure the use ceases by the end of May.”