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Deliveroo in Swiss Cottage: Planning inspector gives delivery company go-ahead to keep cooking in NW3

PUBLISHED: 14:40 01 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:56 01 October 2019

A cyclist with a Deliveroo ruck sack on enters the Swiss Cottage editions kitchen. Picture: Polly Hancock

A cyclist with a Deliveroo ruck sack on enters the Swiss Cottage editions kitchen. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Deliveroo will be able to continue operating a so-called "dark kitchen" from Swiss Cottage, a planning inspector has ruled today.

Cyclists and e-scooter leave the Deliveroo site in Swiss Cottage. Picture: Polly HancockCyclists and e-scooter leave the Deliveroo site in Swiss Cottage. Picture: Polly Hancock

The inspector, Diane Lewis, said an agreement between Deliveroo and Camden Council that the delivery giant wouldn't use mopeds provided enough mitigation to allow the commercial kitchen to remain operational for at least the next 14 months. The agreement was reached a week before the inquiry started in July.

Ms Lewis ruled that "the change of use has economic benefits" but had caused a "harmful and unacceptable impact on the quality of life" of those living near 111-115 Finchley Road.

In June 2018 Camden Council served an enforcement notice alleging that the site - which is an 'Editions Kitchen' meaning that it is a commercial kitchen creating food from restaurants in the local area for delivery - had breached planning control.

This was because Deliveroo had allegedly changed the use from "light industrial" to "commercial kitchen".

Deliveroo Editions Kitchen in Swiss Cottage. Picture: Polly HancockDeliveroo Editions Kitchen in Swiss Cottage. Picture: Polly Hancock

Ms Lewis's ruling quashed the enforcement notice and granted temporary planning permission, subject to a number of conditions including limits to noise, the use of extractor fans late at night, and how Deliveroo are required to eliminate bad smells.

Edie Raff, who had led resident opposition to the site told this newspaper: "Of course we would have preferred an out and out rejection, but the inspector was impeccably fair."

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Edie added that she felt the decision was the only one the inspector could have made after Deliveroo made the concession of getting rid of the mopeds.

Camden Council's planning chief Cllr Danny Beales said: "We are pleased the Inspector upheld our view on the fundamental issue, that this was not a normal light industrial use, but instead was a unique use that did indeed require planning permission.

"This is a key victory that prevents uses like this popping up around the borough without permission."

"We gathered considerable evidence to show the negative impact the location was having and the inspector agreed that all the additional robust controls and restrictions we suggested were necessary to resolve these."

These also included the implementation of a community working group to help resolve concerns.

Cllr Beales added: "We are committed to working with the community to ensure impacts do not occur."

A Deliveroo spokesperson welcomed the decision. They said: "[We're] pleased that local residents will still be able to access amazing food from restaurants at the Editions site. We strongly support the pragmatic approach taken by the Council and we are pleased that the benefits Editions brings to the local area have been recognised.

"We are proud that Deliveroo Editions has increased customer choice, created hundreds of jobs and helped restaurants to expand.

"Deliveroo is committed to being a good neighbour and we will always work closely with the community in Swiss Cottage to ensure this site is benefiting the local area. We will continue to champion the role delivery-only kitchens play in helping restaurants to innovate, grow and reach new customers."

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