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Benugo pulls out of Heath cafe takeover

PUBLISHED: 17:14 07 April 2016 | UPDATED: 17:14 07 April 2016

12,800 signed a petition to keep Alberto D'Auria running the  Parliament Hill Cafe    Picture: Nigel Sutton

12,800 signed a petition to keep Alberto D'Auria running the Parliament Hill Cafe Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Benugo has pulled out of plans to take over Parliament Hill Cafe following backlash from outraged residents.

Keir Starmer MP, Cllr Sally Gimson, Save Parliament Hill Cafe Campaigner Kirstie McKevitt and Andrew Dismore London Assembly MemberKeir Starmer MP, Cllr Sally Gimson, Save Parliament Hill Cafe Campaigner Kirstie McKevitt and Andrew Dismore London Assembly Member

The restaurant chain has announced is will “step aside” from the popular Hampstead Heath Cafe, after a petition to stop the takeover gather the support of 13,000 people.

Ben Warner, founder of Benugo, today released a statement saying: “We were delighted to have been chosen to run this prestigious venue – as a user of the park and someone who lives nearby, it was a proud moment for me, personally.

“However, having listened to the opinions of local residents and people who use the Heath, many of whom are existing customers of ours, we have paused to reconsider our position.

“Having given this a lot of thought I, and my colleagues at Benugo, now firmly believe that the right thing to do is to step aside. We will also be withdrawing from the opportunity to operate the two other nearby venues within the North London Parks, Golders Hill and Highgate Wood .

“We’ve listened, and are responding in the way we think is best for all. I would like to thank everyone who has engaged with us on this issue, and also, to wish all users of the Heath, and the future operators of these venues, the very best.”

The announcement comes after a packed-out meeting was help last night to discuss the future of the cafe, where furious Heath users urged bosses to not axe a family-run business in favour of a chain store.

Holburn and St Pancras MP Sir Keir Starmer was among those who called on bosses at the City of London Corporation to reverse the decision to award contracts to Benugo to run the Parliament Hill and Golders Hill cafes.

Keir Starmer tweeted this afternoon: “Just spoken to CE of @cityoflondon - Hampstead Heath Cafe tender halted and will be rerun! Local voices heard and listened to: fab news!


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