Restaurateur wins legal battle over outside seating area

16:02 17 January 2013

File picture: PA

File picture: PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A Westminster restaurant owner has won a court battle with the council over the right to place tables and chairs on the pavement outside his premises.

In a test case that could affect other restaurants and cafes, a High Court judge today ruled it was lawful to have seating outside the Demartino Italian restaurant in the West End.

Judge Thornton QC rejected claims by Westminster City Council that restaurateur Julian Cordani was not entitled to a Certificate of Lawful Existing Use or Development.

Mr Cordani said that he had had seats and tables on the pavement outside the Great Portland Street premises for more than 20 years and thus acquired the legal right to go on doing so.

Westminster’s lawyers argued that the nightly and seasonal removal of the chairs and tables meant there was a failure to establish “continuous” use for the minimum 10 years necessary to gain immunity from planning control.

A Government planning inspector rejected all Westminster’s arguments as “not well founded” and ruled continuous use of the 1.5m by 3.25m area of land outside the restaurant had been established.

Westminster asked London’s High Court to quash the inspector’s decision, but Judge Thornton ruled the inspector had made no errors of law and the use of the tables and chairs was properly certified as lawful.

Today’s ruling prevents the council taking enforcement action.

Westminster’s deputy leader, Cllr Robert Davis said: “We have no issue with people dining on tables and chairs outside and this case was never about that.

“We are just trying to ensure that the council can carry out its core duties such as street cleaning, gritting and carrying out road maintenance.

“We are disappointed with the decision and are currently reviewing our options.”

Latest Stories

16 minutes ago
A lifeboat crew from Tower station rushed to save the boy's life [Image from RNLI]

A teenage boy was saved from drowning on Sunday as a Youtube dare went horribly wrong.

Read more
The potentially lethal pills were sold as impotence, slimming and anti-smoking aids [Photograph by Met Police]

A 62-year-old man from Hackney and a 34-year-old man from Barnet have been arrested on suspicion of money laundering as police try to smash a gang that sells deadly pills across the world.

Read more
Messages being spread on social media about a terror threat on the Tube are a hoax, say police (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Messages claiming a ‘terror threat’ was about to hit London Underground and urging people not to get the Tube this morning are a hoax, say police.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

Amy Winehouse's second album became a classic

Are you an Amy Winehouse superfan?

Read more
I'm only going to say this once: Stand. On. The. Right.

James Bond is Britain’s most famous secret agent, and the capital is its most famous city, so it makes sense that 007 would live and work here when he isn’t gallivanting around the world.

Read more
Can you find the animals hiding in London station names? (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

You may not realise it but there are animals hiding in stations across London? Play our quiz and see if you can you find them:

Read more