Stay of Execution for Controversial Melody Cafe 'Gazebo'

Appeal against refusal should allow structure to remain in place for summer


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The owner of the cafe with the controversial outdoor 'gazebo' at Bedford Corner, has appealed against the decision by Ealing Council to refuse permission for the structure. It is thought that the time it will take to decide the appeal will allow the structure to remain in place through the summer.

The Council refused the retrospective application for the conservatory style structure outside Melody cafe on Bedford Corner, South Parade.

Owner Mohammad Zarzour had not applied to Ealing Council for planning permission for the 'gazebo' which is situated on a privately-owned patch of land outside the cafe, when he opened last summer. He said he was not aware at the time that he needed to apply for permission and that when he discovered this, he immediately submitted it.

It drew mixed local reaction, with some saying they believed it was out of character in a Conservation Area, while others said it was a welcome addition to an area that needed to be revitalised.

Mr Zarzour has now decided to appeal the refusal. The other option was to take down the structure altogether in light of the refusal, or he would face legal action.

In its rejection of the application, Ealing Council had said, "The retention of the gazebo structure by reason of its design, materials and failure to integrate architecturally with the scale and proportions of the original shopfront, represents an undesirable alteration to the front of the principle elevation, and is incongruous and detrimental to the character of the Bedford Park Conservation Area."

view of gazebo outside Melody cafe

The outdoor dining area as it appears from the car-park

The 'conservatory' style wooden structure with a glass roof was lit up at night and plants were installed to encourage customers to visit in the evenings. Mr. Zarzour had said that he wanted to create an ambiance which would be of benefit of the community.

The Bedford Park Society had criticised the appearance of the gazebo and said they would not object to a structure designed "in a scholarly manner" which respected the design of adjacent buildings and acknowledged the fact that it was an important Conservation area.

The 'gazebo' is on the space which used to be occupied by outdoor tables in the days of the previous cafe.

March 31, 2017

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