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Burger off! Posh hotel’s complaints could force fast food van out of Finsbury Square after 22 years

PUBLISHED: 07:32 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:02 07 December 2017

The van was this week parked nearby in Christopher Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

The van was this week parked nearby in Christopher Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

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A couple could be forced to stop flipping burgers in Finsbury Square after 22 years because the posh new hotel built metres behind their van says it’s a “nuisance”.

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

The van has been on the same pitch since 1995 selling hot food and drinks – but it now happens to be blocking the entrance to a multi-million-pound luxury hotel where rooms start at £456 a night.

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.”

The reports centre around the van being too big and that it stays there for days on end – outside of permitted hours – without opening. Lawyers also say it blocks access for guests and last month moaned that the fact it had been daubed with graffiti was a “security risk to the public”.

The pitch where the van trades is right outside the entrance to the hotel. Picture: Polly HancockThe pitch where the van trades is right outside the entrance to the hotel. Picture: Polly Hancock

The row seemed to have calmed down but then in October the complaints started again and a log listing the breaches was submitted to Islington Council.

Peter, who believes the hotel “has it in for him”, said he had been using the same van for 14 years with no problem, and town hall street trading chiefs admitted they had never considered the size of it before because until the hotel opened it wasn’t an issue.

A potential resolution of moving the van to another pitch on the square came to nothing because there weren’t any available. The council has now grown fed up of telling the couple to stop the breaches and called in a review – which could put an end to the business.

As well as the hotel, that would please some guests, whose experience has apparently been blighted by the sight of Peter flipping burgers.

The council street trading notice outside the hotel in Finsbury Square. Picture: Polly HancockThe council street trading notice outside the hotel in Finsbury Square. Picture: Polly Hancock

“Lovely hotel, shame about the burger van,” is how one reviewer summed up their stay on Trip Advisor.

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