Deliveroo: Woman discharges herself from hospital to tell inquiry ‘don’t approve Swiss Cottage kitchens’

Deliveroo Editions Kitchen in Swiss Cottage. Picture: Polly Hancock

Deliveroo Editions Kitchen in Swiss Cottage. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A woman discharged herself from hospital to tell a planning inquiry that the Deliveroo Editions kitchens near her Swiss Cottage home is causing “havoc” and should not be given planning permission.

Deliveroo Editions Kitchen in Swiss Cottage. Picture: Polly Hancock

Deliveroo Editions Kitchen in Swiss Cottage. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Speaking on Tuesday at the Crowndale Centre, she said the commercial kitchens behind Finchley Road have caused chaos since it opened in 2017.

"Since it has come in, there has been nothing but havoc," she said. "The fact is that drivers and cyclists are a menace and are a danger on the roads. If this is their form of getting through to places, irrespective of pedestrians and moving traffic, a clamp should be put down on them forthwith.

"They are a liability to people and do a lot of damage to parked and moving vehicles as they drive along. Something has to be done pretty quickly."

Jacqueline, who has lived in Fairfax Place for 25 years, added she thought the area was unsuitable.

The inquiry is being held after Camden Council turned down Deliveroo's retrospective application for a change of use on 115-119 Finchley Road in May 2018. It was previously classified as "industrial use".

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

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Since then nine kitchens have been operating from the site which backs onto Dobson Close.

Simon Bird QC, acting for the delivery giant, said it has delivered food to 36,000 households in the borough and provides work for 780 local riders. It has boosted the "local and wider" economy by £4million, he added.

But neighbours have complained about noise, traffic and odour.

Mr Bird told planning inspector Diane Lewis the development met planning policy "at all levels". He said Deliveroo had been "responsive and flexible" in its management of the site, and the fact only 12 "active" neighbours were objecting to it being showed the "concerted efforts [it] has made to respond to the issues."

Deliveroo's lawyer also said the areas it covered were "under-served". Most orders are made at addresses to the south of the kitchens.

During his opening remarks, Mr Bird said Camden Council now has no problem with the continued use of the site. But Esther Drabkin-Reiter, representing the local residents group, said the site was "wholly unsuitable" for use as a kitchen

Urging Ms Lewis not to grant Deliveroo planning permission, she added: "The experience of local residents over the past 20 months, including since [Deliveroo's] change of operations, demonstrates that [its] mitigation measures are not capable of avoiding an unacceptable impact on highway safety or protecting the amenity of local residents."

She said that the current filtration method doesn't reduce the smells residents are subjected to from kitchens, and there is an "unacceptable impact" on road and pavement safety from the site.

Earlier this month Deliveroo banned scooters and mopeds from collecting from the site in a bid to cut down noise. Yet Ms Drabkin-Reiter said there were still problems from riders and marshals' voices.

The inquiry is set to run until tomorrow (Fri) at the Crowndale Centre.