Coffee bungalow owner in legal battle with Redbridge council


A Wanstead cafe 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 the awnings around his terrace with glass doors and windows in December 2020.

According to Stavros, he told the council his plans and was given the go-ahead “as long as it was doors and windows.”

Redbridge was previously ordered to pay the father of two thousand children in 2013 after winning a costly planning battle with him over planning permission for the patio cover.

The father-of-two was due to stand trial at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court today, but due to administrative confusion at court his case has been adjourned to May 24.

Outside of court, he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service, “It’s ridiculous…this whole situation puts a lot of pressure on you.

“It’s been going on for years now, since 2020, putting it all together during this time puts a lot of stress on you.

“It was a huge waste of time today, but I think we’ll win because I didn’t do anything wrong.”

In 2013, the cafe owner won a costly planning battle with Redbridge over the same terrace after he ordered it to remove the wooden roof structure because it broke regulations.

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

If found guilty, Stavros faces a fine of several thousand euros, but he insists he did nothing wrong.

He said, “They accused me of building a new structure, which is factually incorrect, I didn’t build a new structure.

“Why are they being so hard on me when I’m just closing off an existing area and they’re going in front of me and setting up a cafe on the green that will serve alcohol?”

Stavros, of Spratt Hall Road, Wanstead, is denying two breaches of building regulations for failing to give notice to start work and for failing to give notice to build or file full plans.

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

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