Café owner set for court stand-off with Redbridge Council

A Wanstead café owner is locked in a years-long planning battle with Redbridge Council over changes to his outdoor seating area.

Bungalow Café owner Stavros Nicola, 52, is accused of illegally replacing awnings around his terrace area with glass doors and windows in December 2020.

According to Stavros, he told the council about his plans and was given the green light “as long as it was doors and windows”.

Redbridge was previously ordered to pay the father-of-two thousands in 2013 after he won a costly planning battle with it over planning permission for covering of the terrace.

The father-of-two was due to stand trial at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court today, but due to an administrative mix-up at the court his case was adjourned to 24th May.

Outside court he said: “It’s ridiculous… this whole situation puts you under a lot of pressure.

“This has been going on for years now, since 2020, putting all that together during this period puts a lot of stress on you.

“This has been a huge waste of time today, but I think we’re going to win this, because I haven’t done anything wrong.”

In 2013, the café owner won a costly planning battle with Redbridge over the same terrace area after it ordered him to remove the wooden roof structure because it was in breach of regulations.

At a public planning enquiry, Stavros argued the terrace had been there for 25 years and a planning inspector ordered the council to pay thousands in legal costs.

If convicted, Stavros faces a large fine, but he insists he has done nothing wrong.

He said: “They’ve accused me of erecting a new structure, that is factually incorrect, I haven’t built a new structure.

“Why are they coming down so hard on me when all I’m doing is closing an existing area and they are going opposite me and putting in a café on the green that will serve alcohol?”

Stavros, of Spratt Hall Road, Wanstead, denies two breaches of building regulations for failing to give notice of commencement of work and failing to give building notice or deposit full plans.

His trial was adjourned to Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on May 24.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter