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Finsbury Square burger van wins battle against multi-million-pound hotel

PUBLISHED: 13:51 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:50 18 December 2017

The bay in question outside the hotel in Finsbury Square. Picture: Polly Hancock

The bay in question outside the hotel in Finsbury Square. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

A plucky burger van has defeated a multi-million-pound luxury hotel chain in a battle for a Finsbury Square parking bay.

The van serving customers in front of the hotel in Finsbury Square. Picture: Robin Stephenson The van serving customers in front of the hotel in Finsbury Square. Picture: Robin Stephenson

Within weeks of opening in October last year, The Montcalm Royal London House, through its lawyers, started reporting Ann and Peter Carter for breaching street trading agreements. They said the van was often left in the spot outside of trading hours and that it is too big for the bay.

And so the couple, who had been trading in the same spot since the ’90s with no hassle, were subsequently hauled before a town hall committee on Wednesday and faced having to close.

But to the frustration of the £456-a-night hotel, councillors ruled in favour of Mr and Mrs Carter.

On the points made by the hotel’s lawyers about the van being left in the spot for weeks in October, the committee said: “Since November 2017 this breach has been resolved and Mr Carter has given an assurance that the vehicle would be moved after trading.

“In relation to the breach [of the] size of the vehicle, the committee considered these to be technical breaches but accepted that, as the nature of the surrounding area had changed with the development of a hotel in the immediate vicinity of the pitch, there may be some inconvenience to persons using the street.

“The committee therefore recommends that officers arrange an immediate meeting with the trader to consider how best to resolve the technical breaches with regard to the dimensions of the trading vehicle.”

It is the second time the council has knocked back the hotel, which failed to gain planning permission from officers in 2014 and only won on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

In a letter complaining to the council, Montcalm’s director Clare Glass said: “We understand the street trader has been located within Finsbury Square for a number of years, but the character and use of the square has transformed over the recent past with the renovation of offices and the opening of the hotel.”

Lawyers moaned the van blocked access for guests and last month claimed that the fact it had been daubed with graffiti was a “security risk to the public”.

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