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Neighbours complain about food smells and noise levels from Belsize Park cafés

PUBLISHED: 15:00 28 June 2013

Camden Council are investigating into reports of high noise levels and bad odours. Picture: Danny Robinson

Camden Council are investigating into reports of high noise levels and bad odours. Picture: Danny Robinson

Archant

A row has broken out between residents and café owners in Belsize Park over greasy food smells and noise levels, forcing one couple to move into a hotel.

Violette and Ginger and White cafés in England’s Lane have incurred the wrath of residents living above the restaurants and in Antrim Road, who complain that loud extractor fans and strong food odours start as early as 6.30am every morning.

But the cafe managers have defended themselves, both saying that the noise levels and smells are not coming from their establishments.

Jonathan Bennett, 67, only moved into his block of flats with his wife in Antrim Road three weeks ago, but as soon as he arrived he noticed the noise and smells.

He said: “It starts at 6.30am and doesn’t stop until 5.30pm and sometimes in the evenings. I can’t even open the window in the bedroom.

“It drove us out of our flat and it is driving everyone in the building mad.”

Tenants report that the problem started just over a year ago.

Camden Council have investigated both cafés, ordering Ginger and White to fix their extractor fan after they noticed it was not functioning properly.

Nicholas Scott, owner of three family-run cafés in Hampstead, Soho and Belsize Park, said he tried to replace the existing extraction system with a low level system after consulting local residents.

But his planning application was turned down by the council. Mr Scott will be appealing this decision.

In the meantime, he is ensuring the current extractor fan is cleaned regularly to avoid creating unpleasant odours.

He said: “We invited our neighbours for a site visit to see if we could work out whether the odours were coming directly from our kitchen. At that visit, everyone agreed the greasy smell was in fact coming from another nearby café.

“The enforcement notice against the existing extraction system, which we inherited but are maintaining responsibly, does not come into effect until September, by which time we hope to have found a satisfactory resolution for all our neighbours that will allow us to continue to trade.”

The owner of Violette café has defended claims that the greasy food smells are coming from his establishment, saying that he cleaned the fan after the council advised him to get rid of the foul odours.

Manager of Violette café, Samir Chbat, said: “We received a call from the council and they came to check the extractor fan. We cleaned it and they haven’t come back since.

“I’ve been here 12 years and I’ve never had this problem before. People are just bringing my café into this.”

Cllr Valerie Leach said: “The council has investigated the Ginger and White café following concerns from local residents. We have served an enforcement notice due to problems with their extractor fan and will be working with the premises manager to ensure this is made suitable.

“We have been in contact with Violette following similar reports.”


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