Future of Hampstead creperie to the stars hangs in balance after ‘impossible’ gas bill
PUBLISHED: 10:43 27 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:43 27 April 2017
The creperie, which attracts celebrity customers such as Kate Moss and Harry Styles, could close as the owner is being forced to pay back the majority of a £15,000 electricity bill which he believes he could not have run up
Edward de Mesquita, who has run the much-loved La Creperie de Hampstead, for 37 years, was presented with the shock £15,000 bill for two years’ electricity – although he normally only runs up around £900 of electricity a year.
British Gas said that they were investigating and had put Mr de Mesquita’s account on hold when the Ham&High first wrote about the huge bill – but they are now forcing the creperie to pay back £13,000.
For two years, the company’s engineers had not been allowed to access his electricity meter, inside the neighbouring King William IV pub next door.
When they finally gained access in January, they sent him the bill for £15,300.
Mr de Mesquita opened the Parisian creperie stall on Hampstead High Street after selling the carefully-wrapped sweet and savoury crepes at weekend markets.
Attracting celebrity customers, such as Judy Dench, the paparazzi have also followed Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, Pierce Brosnan and more recently Harry Styles as they queued at the white stall.
He will be putting his personal savings towards paying the bill, and staff members may contribute.
The owner has said that any small contributions from members of the public are gratefully received.
He said: “I know that I would be devastated to see the business close. It is the greatest thing I have created in my life.
“I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to create a business, doing what I love and in the place I would always have wanted to be even if I hadn’t been working.
“I think I can safely say that my staff, certainly the long term ones, feel the same way as I do. They absolutely adore Hampstead!”
“I hope to do what Louis did (Louis’ Patisserie) and, even when I am no longer around, keep it alive with younger people; it is so much a part of Hampstead.
“I still go to Louis’ and marvel at how it hasn’t changed.
“I started the Creperie in August 1980 and it immediately became a highly popular venue in Hampstead.
“From the first day, it just fitted so easily into the ethos of what Hampstead is all about.”
Catrin Millar, of British Gas Business, said: “We met with Mr de Mesquita to check his business’ electricity meter last month. We confirmed with him that the meter was working properly and that the energy has been used.
“We’ve offered him a lot of help, including a payment plan, referring him for extra financial support and we’ve already reduced the outstanding balance as a gesture of goodwill.”