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Battle lines drawn over Maida Vale shisha cafe

PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 February 2012

Ghalyoun opened in Lauderdale Road last May

Ghalyoun opened in Lauderdale Road last May

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Maida Vale residents are locked in a fight with a shisha café which they claim has flouted planning regulations and blighted their lives for almost a year.

Ghalyoun delicatessen, which opened in Lauderdale Road last May, sells food and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as providing an outdoor seating area to smoke shisha.

The café is currently appealing a Westminster Council order to remove outdoor furniture, which will effectively end shisha smoking at the front of the building.

One resident, whose house overlooks Ghalyoun, said: “They have made life intolerable. Two of the rooms in my house are uninhabitable because of the noise and the smoke.

“They have driven me to the edge of a mental breakdown. I left my house and rented a room in a neighbour’s house because it was so bad, but I had to move back in because I couldn’t afford it.

“There has been no attempt to compromise with the people who live around here.”

She also claimed the café regularly stays open until after midnight despite its licence hours ending at 11pm.

Ann Rhodes, who has lived opposite the premises for almost 30 years, said: “We are so quiet around here and that’s what everyone likes about the area. It is blighting that part of our lives. There’s no consideration for the residents.”

Maida Vale Cllr Alastair Moss said the café was causing a “major issue” in a “very quiet residential area”.

“It’s a shame that they are not adhering to legitimate enforcement notices,” he said.

“It’s quite clear that local residents find the conduct of the business at times unacceptable and that’s what these rules are there for.”

But café owner Amir Pasha said he has tried to listen and respond to residents’ concerns.

He said: “They originally had some problems with fumes, but we don’t have a charcoal burner any more, so that has stopped.

“We have had neighbours ask us to put signs up telling our customers to be quiet as they leave, so we have done that.”

He added: “I love this area. It’s the best part of London, but I felt this was a really dead parade.

“We have had a good effect on the other businesses, because we bring more people to the area, and on most of the local residents, except for those in the immediate vicinity.”

The council is due to make a decision on the enforcement appeal in March.


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