Hampstead councillor: Closure of creperies 'undesirable but unavoidable'

Cllr Oliver Cooper said residents were left fearful of leaving their homes

Cllr Oliver Cooper said residents were left fearful of leaving their homes - Credit: Polly Hancock/Cllr Oliver Cooper

A Hampstead Town councillor says the closure of the creperies was “undesirable but unavoidable” after “hellish” queues around Perrin’s Lane.

Cllr Oliver Cooper, the leader of Camden Council’s Conservative opposition, said residents had been left scared to leave their homes amid fears over a lack of social distancing.

La Crêperie de Hampstead and its next-door neighbour – backed by the King William IV pub – were closed by Camden Council after being ruled a “significant risk” of transmitting Covid.

On Friday (January 29), both businesses were issued with a new closure notice lasting 21 days. The pub-backed creperie was fined £1,000 for initially rejecting the order to shut down.  

Cllr Cooper told the Ham&High: "The closure of the crepe stalls was undesirable but unavoidable. Although vaccination is going great guns across the country, this is still a public health emergency and people should not act as though it's over.  

Queues for both creperies have caused concern for the spread of Covid

Queues for both creperies have caused concern for the spread of Covid - Credit: Rédouane Ait Iich/Hampstead Village Voice

“The queues around Perrin's Lane have been hellish for residents since the opening of the second stall, and have stopped many residents from stepping out their front door.  

"Camden has told the owners that the stalls cannot open unless and until they implement a new business model, such as click-and-collect and the immediate dispersal of people. We're speaking regularly to Camden officers to encourage them to help square the circle.” 

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Andrew Haslam-Jones, chair of the Heath & Hampstead Society’s town sub-committee, said residents were “very concerned” by crowds and the “lack of social distancing”, particularly in Hampstead High Street.  

He told the Ham&High: “We would not want to second guess the council's public health decisions but we hope that both creperies will be able to reach an agreement with the council on what conditions, such as controlling the lengths and spacings of their queues and perhaps even asking people not to congregate so much in one place, so they may reopen as quickly as possible."

Jimmy McGrath, King William IV’s owner, said his pub was now trying to work with the council so it could open prior to its latest 21-day closure. 

He said the creperie had complied with all Covid regulations, including laying down markings and railings to aid social distancing.  

He added that, following a discussion with La Crêperie de Hampstead, both traders were now trying to help each other to reopen as soon as possible.  

“There's no feud, no fight whatsoever, quite the reverse,” Jimmy said.