'Land grab': Muswell Hill Gail's accused of taking over pavement
- Credit: Cllr Justin Hinchcliffe
A Muswell Hill cafe has been accused of “taking over” the pavement, blocking pedestrians and wheelchair users from getting past.
Gail's Bakery, which first opened in Hampstead in 2005, now has around 60 outlets in London.
The Fortis Green Road branch was granted a Pavement Licence by Haringey Council as part of a government effort to help the hospitality sector recover from the pandemic, allowing the cafe to place furniture directly outside the shop.
However, the council confirmed it has received complaints that the pavement and temporary pedestrian walkway on the suspended parking bays are being used by Gail's customers.
Resident Richard Rosen said the cafe has “snatched the tarmac” for its own financial gain.
He told the Ham&High: “It’s extraordinary what they’ve done.
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“It’s ridiculous, and very bad behaviour from a company claiming to ‘do good’ – this is clearly cheating and not following the rules.”
Cllr Justin Hinchcliffe (Lib Dem, Fortis Green) said he has asked the council to act swiftly against the pavement "land grab".
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He said: “N10 pedestrians are forced to thread their way through a narrow space left between tables along both the inner and road edge of the pavement.
“Whilst running this galette gauntlet may not especially inconvenience most people, it must certainly be a challenge for those in wheelchairs, on mobility scooters or with pushchairs. Pavements are for pedestrians, not pastries."
The council has told Gail's it is responsible for ensuring the public “are not obstructed or hindered” and it must keep furniture within the area agreed under the licencing terms.
Cabinet member for planning, licensing and housing services John Bevan said: “We understand residents’ concerns and want to ensure all our premises are following the correct guidelines.
He added: "If customers are starting to block the pathway it is the responsibility of the bakery to ensure that the terms of the license are not breached.”
The councillor promised to continue working with Gail’s and other businesses in the area to ensure licences are “being upheld in the correct way and our residents are able to move around in a safe and efficient way”.
The cafe's pavement licence expires next Thursday (September 30), and it must submit a new application to continue providing outdoor seating.
Cllr Bevan added: “Should Gail’s apply to renew their licence, I would encourage local residents to submit their views.”
The Ham&High approached Gail's but the company declined to comment.