Deliveroo still 'unlawfully' operating Barnsbury kitchen, three years on
- Credit: Claudia Celadon
Deliveroo has been “unlawfully” operating a commercial kitchen just yards from people's homes in the Roman Way Industrial Estate for over three years without action being taken by the council.
The food delivery giant set up business on the estate, between Offord Road and Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station, in October 2017 without seeking planning permission.
Neighbours, who live just 32m away, allege a low level "constant, horrible industrial noise" is emanating from the kitchen, and making their lives a misery by keeping them awake at night - but despite filing numerous complaints the council has yet to take action.
Deliveroo installed extractor fans and air con units in 2017, and applied for retrospective permission in January 2018. Although councils usually make a decision on "large or complex" planning applications within 13 weeks, this application remains unresolved.
A separate retrospective application was submitted in September 2019 to change the site's use from light industrial to a commercial kitchen with delivery. A four-week consultation on the application took place in October 2019, and a second one was launched on December 17, 2020, ending four weeks later.
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A council spokesperson could not explain the delays, only saying: "Inevitably more complicated applications will take longer than others, and the council is continuing to assess both of these applications."
After the change of use application was lodged, the council requested further assessments on air quality and noise.
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Smell and noise were part of the reason that Deliveroo's application for a certificate of lawfulness was rejected in February 2018, when the council ruled the unit - where five "commercial partners" run kitchens in a concept dubbed "Editions" - went beyond light industrial use.
A spokesperson for Deliveroo said the Covid-19 pandemic meant it and the council have been unable "to work at the speed that both parties would have liked".
"Challenges such as enabling council officers to inspect the site, and the impact of remote working on delaying formal processes have been part of the challenge," they said.
"Many local authorities considered [light industrial use] to be the right class for Editions, and indeed Editions sites elsewhere in the UK operate under exactly this type of planning permission."