Pret A Manger abandons South End Green cafe plans

Pret A Manger is not moving into 37-39 South End Road. Pictures: PA/Michael Boniface

Pret A Manger is no longer moving into 37-39 South End Road. - Credit: PA/Michael Boniface

A long-mooted Pret A Manger outlet will not be opening in South End Green.

The sandwich chain was due to take over the derelict former Monica's shop at 37-39 South End Road once National Rail had granted permissions due to rail safety.

However, a high level of asbestos in the building pushed plans back and in October Pret opened an outlet in Haverstock Hill instead.

The chain has more than 300 outlets in London.

The empty building in South End Green is an 'eyesore' for locals

The empty building in South End Green is an 'eyesore' for locals - Credit: Jonathan Bergman

A Pret spokesperson said: "We would have loved to join the community in South End Green, but after agreeing to the initial terms with the landlord, we found a lot of asbestos in the building.

"We tried to find a way to remove it but were not able without causing severe disruption to the local community.

"We therefore did not open a Pret at this site and instead opened a shop nearby, at 192 Haverstock Hill.”

The building, owned by Arch Company, has been empty for more than three-and-a-half years.

In February 2020 Arch applied for an injunction to remove squatters from the former shop.

Jonathan Bergman, trustee of the Peace Garden, said: "What is going on? As the mystery thickens it is residents, traders and the visitors to Hampstead Heath who have to look at this boarded eye sore."

Pret a Manger is no longer moving into the derelict building in South End Green

Pret a Manger is no longer moving into the derelict building in South End Green - Credit: Jonathan Bergman

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The Arch Company said "despite its excellent location" there are structural issues with the building that require resolution, making alterations more difficult and expensive.

An Arch Company spokesperson said :"The space is in a complicated position over the railway.

"We need to maintain the operational safety of the railway following any proposed works to the unit before any new tenant can move in.

"The proposed tenant was not able to secure the consent needed to complete the works, and therefore the letting will not be going ahead.

"We are working to find a suitable tenant for this property and look forward to welcoming a new business to the area."

They said the building is currently being reviewed as part of the Project 1000 pipeline which includes an assessment of the costs of bringing the unit back into use.