Three-year fight to turn South Hampstead coffee shop into restaurant rages on

Proprietor Nico Potenza (left) and war veteran Lord Peter Eden outside Gastronomia La Delizia in Fai

Proprietor Nico Potenza (left) and war veteran Lord Peter Eden outside Gastronomia La Delizia in Fairfax Road, Swiss Cottage - Credit: Archant

The owner of an Italian coffee shop and deli is continuing his three-year fight to turn it into a restaurant with the support of a war veteran.

Nico Potenza, who runs Gastronomia La Delizia with his parents in Fairfax Road, South Hampstead, is applying for the third time to transform his business into a restaurant.

The previous two rejections from Camden Council mean that Mr Potenza has had to open a coffee shop in the meantime to save the business from going bust.

Around 40 residents have expressed concern that a restaurant would create a lot of noise, with one family living behind the venue concerned that the venture would disrupt the care of their autistic son.

Lord Peter Eden, who was made a peer for his services during the Second World War, has lent his support to Mr Potenza’s battle, saying the eatery is a “clean, orderly-run Italian eatery struggling to survive”.

Mr Potenza, who turned his furniture shop into a cafe in 2010 when it became unsuccessful, said: “It’s not a nightclub or anything noisy, in fact the only way you could have anything quieter would be to have a shop closing at five.

“We’re not doing as well as we should be, but the fact we are still here and trading is confirmation that people want to come here.”

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Cllr Valerie Leach, cabinet member for regeneration and growth, said: “As previously agreed, the principle of a restaurant in this location is likely to be acceptable, however this would be subject to certain controls to protect nearby residents from disturbance, including limiting hours of opening.”