Hampstead creperie backs down in row with pub next door to avoid costly legal fight

Edward de Mesquita, with the petition box, outside La Creperie de Hampstead. Picture: Polly Hancock

Edward de Mesquita, with the petition box, outside La Creperie de Hampstead. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Polly Hancock

The owner of a much-loved Hampstead crepe stand has backed down in his battle with the pub next door – as bailiffs were poised to move in this week.

Edward de Mesquita, owner of La Creperie De Hampstead, has cleared his stock out of a fridge and facilities in the garden of the King William IV pub in Hampstead High Street.

Bailiffs acting on behalf of Elaine Loughran, the pub’s leaseholder, were set to “dispose of” the crepe stand owner’s property if it was not removed by Tuesday.

The crepe stand will remain on the pavement next to the King William IV, but Mr de Mesquita will no longer use a small kitchen area and a walk-in fridge that are both situated in the pub’s garden.

Ms Loughran said: “That’s all we wanted in the first place. We just wanted to have our garden back so we can renovate our garden.

“It’s just what we’re entitled to – the use of our own land.”

Mr de Mesquita took the step despite the pub’s freeholder, Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars, confirming this week that the fridge and kitchen were being “legally occupied” by the crepe stall as part of its lease.

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He said: “I don’t want anything to do with [the pub] anymore, it’s just a nightmare so we’re moving out.

“We’re there within our rights, but going to court is a very long, difficult, terribly expensive and traumatic experience.

“I don’t want years of litigation.”

This latest twist could end a long-running feud that became so hostile in recent weeks that police got involved, speaking to staff at both businesses last month.

But it leaves the future of the creperie in jeopardy unless Mr de Mesquita finds somewhere else for his fridge and storage space.

He has arranged temporary accommodation for the rest of the summer, but this week he issued an appeal for help finding a permanent site.

“We need 100 square feet – a little place for a couple of fridges and to store some stock and paperwork,” he said.

Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who spearheads the Hampstead Shops Campaign and started a petition to save the creperie that now has more than 7,000 signatures, urged somebody to step in.

She said: “I think Edward is doing the right thing because the legal process is long and expensive.

“A lot of people care about the creperie and it’s an important part of Hampstead.”