Phone box coffee kiosk in Hampstead wins ‘most loved’ award

PUBLISHED: 19:00 17 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:51 18 November 2016

Umar Khalid who runs the  phonebox coffee shop in  Hampstead High Street has won an award

Umar Khalid who runs the phonebox coffee shop in Hampstead High Street has won an award

© Nigel Sutton email

A telephone box coffee kiosk in Hampstead which has been facing a ten-month battle for survival has won a top award from TimeOut magazine.

Umar Khalid and Alona Guerra off to collect their awardUmar Khalid and Alona Guerra off to collect their award

As reported in the Ham&High, more than 550 customers signed a petition in support of the coffee shop , which faced closure when it was embroiled in a licensing row with Camden Council.

Now owner Umar Khalid and wife Alona Guerra are celebrating being voted one of TimeOut Love London’s best coffee shop/cafes.

Mr Khalid said: ““We were very surprised and very humbled by the people who voted for us.It was the light at the end of the dark tunnel. I know many people round here, community is the best here. They love supporting local businesses.”

Earlier this year Mr Khalid, who opened the shop in the disused red phone box, was told he must stop serving coffee untl he agrees to a new street trading licence instead of a regular retail kiosk licence.

This would increase the cost from £1,200 to £5,378.88 a year. He is also waiting for a bill for business rates.

At the time he told the Ham&High: “We strongly believe that the licence fee is an extortionate amount which we will be unable to pay” and had to close the shop for five weeks.

He has also been told he cannot have a table on the street next to the kiosk.

He has now listed the help of a local surveyor who is still in correspondence with the council over the future licence.

A Camden Council spokesperson said: “This trader is required to have a street trading licence for his business. We have written to him, visited him and continue to liaise with him about this matter. We have other ‘phone box based businesses’ in the borough, all of which have a licence and pay the respective fees.”

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