Hampstead creperie to reduce opening hours following row with pub next door

Edward de Mesquita, with the petition that has been signed by more than 12,000 people, outside La Cr

Edward de Mesquita, with the petition that has been signed by more than 12,000 people, outside La Creperie de Hampstead. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Polly Hancock

The owner of a popular crepe stall says he has been forced to slash the opening hours following his bitter dispute with the pub next door – but he has vowed to keep trading at the spot it has occupied for more than three decades.

Edward de Mesquita, owner of La Creperie de Hampstead, has announced that the much-loved food stall will no longer be opening every day from Monday.

He said it is likely to open three or four days a week, including at the weekend.

“We do intend to do everything possible to stay but the current circumstances are very challenging,” he added.

His business, which has stood since 1980 in Hampstead High Street, Hampstead, has become embroiled in a feud with the King William IV pub next door in recent months.

The row has been so rancourous that lawyers were called in on both sides, while police even visited to speak to the proprietors of both establishments.

Their argument centred on facilities in the pub that Mr de Mesquita has historically been allowed to use, until the pub’s leaseholder Elaine Loughran demanded that he pay more rent or move out.

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Despite maintaining that he was legally entitled to the facilities according to the terms of his own lease with the pub’s freeholder, Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars, Mr de Mesquita cleared his stock out of the kitchen and fridge space in August – just as bailiffs acting for Ms Loughran were poised to move in.

Now Mr de Mesquita says the creperie cannot continue trading full time because he has nowhere to store stock or wash up.

He was offered some temporary space by a nearby business in August, but that arrangement has now come to an end.

He said: “I am sorry to have to tell you that the Hampstead Creperie will not be able to open every day as from next week.

“We are about to lose the temporary accommodation nearby which we were offered.

“This means we have nowhere for our stock, refrigeration, for the washing up of catering equipment at the end of the day, for our staff to change into their catering clothes and to do basic administration.

“We are literally ‘on the street’.

“It remains to be seen whether we can survive under these circumstances but we are going to give it a try, maybe for three days a week at the most.

More than 12,000 people have signed a petition to save the creperie which was launched by Jessica Learmond-Criqui of the Hampstead Shops Campaign.

“This is a very sad day for Hampstead,” she said.

“All the staff at the creperie are under a great deal of stress. They love the business, the area and the creperie’s wonderful customers and they are all feeling very sad about this too.”