The amazing proliferation of coffee shops on the High Road could be brought to a grinding halt by an enforcement action against Caffe Nero. The Council's enforcement officer is claiming that they did not have the necessary planning permission to open.

Adam Beamish, Principal Planning Enforcement Officer of Hounslow Council, will be arguing at the next planning meeting (3rd January) that a material change of use has occurred at many of the new coffee shops. A report is also to be presented to the same Committee recommending enforcement action to be taken against the Caffe Nero establishment at 192 Chiswick High Road. If Members approve the taking of enforcement action the Council intend to serve an Enforcement Notice.


Hairdresser to coffee shop - no change of use at 192 High Road?

Organisations such as Starbucks, Caffe Nero & Coffee Republic (among others) consistently argue that the use of their premises does not require planning permission, arguing that no material change of use has occurred.

Mr Beamish wrote on the forum: "I'm sure Caffe Nero would appeal against this & the matter would ultimately be determined by the Planning Inspectorate. This is our 'test case' & if we won the appeal we would then review other premises."

He added: "Changing a retail shop into a food & drink establishment requires planning permission. However, the use of any premises for the sale of sandwiches or other cold food for consumption off the premises falls within the same use as a retail shop & hence does not require planning permission. My authority is of the opinion that establishments such as Caffe Nero, Starbucks & Coffee Republic (among others) involves the use of the premises for the sale of food and drink for consumption on the premises, or of hot food for consumption off the premises - which means such establishments fall within the food and drink use."

Opinion on the action has been divided with some decrying it as a "waste of money" but one local resident defended the move saying: "the malign affect that they are having on our social fabric by descending on us in such numbers is surely plain to see. Rents on the High Road are shocking and seemingly still being bid up by the trio of estate agents, phone shops and coffee outlets."

Some local traders have claimed that many of these new businesses offer little support for community initiatives such as the Hogarth Statue and Christmas lights.

The debate on this issue