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

The Job Centre at 120-122 Deptford High Street in its original incarnation in 2008. Although the pub keeps the name, it has not kept the distinctive green and yellow sign [Photo from Google StreetView]

Campaigners have criticised a ‘poor taste’ pub that has opened in a disused Job Centre on Deptford High Street – and kept the name.

Read more
The street is partially closed after an accident  (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

The A4 Strand is partially closed this morning after a collision between a scooter and a van.

Read more
The luxury hotel is a London landmark  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

It seemed like a unique crime: moped-riding thugs descended on the Dorchester, one of London’s most luxurious hotels, and smashed their way through glass cases with sledgehammers, stealing thousands of pounds’ worth of jewellery.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

Take our quiz and see how much you know about the Wimbledon Tennis Championships (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Do you know SW19 like the back of your hand? From Henman Hill to Centre Court, Fred Perry to Andy Murray? Well then you should ace our Wimbledon quiz:

Read more
Croatia's Daniel Prajnic, France's Paul Pogba and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo... three hair-raising World Cup stars (Picture: Archant/Getty)

The World Cup is a showcase of fantastic football... and terrible hairstyles. Try this quiz and test your knowledge of the wackiest barnets in Brazil.

Read more
World Cup countries quiz

It's about time you refreshed your brains about the countries competing in Brazil.

Read more
How much do you know about films in London? (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Do you know your Lock Stock from your Long Good Friday, Sliding Doors from Shakespeare in Love?

Read more
Instead of actually going to a park, take our quiz about them... (Picture: Warrick Page/Getty Images)

Think-Kew have got what it takes?

Read more