Glasgow cafe with ‘excellent’ reviews ordered to shut down

A Mediterranean café ordered to stop operating by Glasgow City Council has lost an appeal to stay open.

Hillhead eatery Levant Pies was told to shut its Park Road premises down over the unauthorised operation of a shop as a restaurant.

The diner – which has a number of ‘excellent’ TripAdvisor reviews – served up East Mediterranean food specialising in Levantine flatbread.

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‘Breach of planning control’

The café operators and the council clashed over whether the oven dispersed cooking fumes.

The café didn’t have the proper Class 3 permission to operate in its premises after taking over a former butchers retail unit.

The diner operators believed the café needed the same Class 1 rating as Greggs and Subway according to a planning document – but officials say it required Class 3.

After the council served an enforcement notice owners BNG lodged an appeal with Scottish Ministers but that was knocked back.

Dismissing the appeal earlier this month the Government reporter said: “I find that a change of use has occurred in breach of planning control.”

The council’s enforcement notice said there was a “breach of planning control” amounting to an “unauthorised change of use from Class 1 to Class 3.”

It added: “The site has a detrimental effect of the amenity of residents through the effects of cooking fumes. Therefore, the use fails to meet policy in this regard.”

The council ruled the ground level flue was too low on the four storey tenement meaning it was “not able to disperse fumes above the nearby properties.”

‘Lack of understanding’

But an agent, representing BNG, said there is a “lack of understanding on the part of the planning department on what constitutes cooking fumes and what constitutes flue gasses.”

The supporting information from agent Padrino Design added: “Glasgow City Council, significantly, based their refusal on an incorrect material fact, namely that the oven disperses cooking fumes. As part of the appeal submission it is evidenced that this is not the case.”

Permission refused

Levant Pies had applied for planning permission to change the use of the premises from retail (Class 1) to a café or restaurant (Class 3) but it was refused by the council.

A planning statement submitted to the council by the agent last year said: “The operation is different from the usual Glasgow take away in that customers are greeted on entry, offered a sat and given a menu. They remain seated until their food is packaged and brought to the table either in package form or on paper plated for consumption at the table.”

It added: “The operators had looked at shops such as Greggs and Subway and ascertained that these are considered to be class 1 and opened their premises.”