Juice bar lawful retail use confirmed

Council claims that a juice bar operating in a central London shop constitutes an unlawful café use have been refuted by an inspector.

The juice bar served juices, shakes, yoghurts, sandwiches and coffees in disposable packaging and offered open wi-fi access without any requirement to make a purchase. It provided seating for 42 customers. The council alleged that an unlawful change of the shop to a mixed use comprising a juice bar and café had taken place. It considered that dedicating 64 per cent of the floor area to seating suggested a character more akin to a restaurant. It also disputed the appellant’s evidence that only 11.4 per cent of turnover was generated by customers eating or drinking in-house and dwell time data suggesting that 29 per cent of transactions were for consumption on the premises.

The inspector recorded that class A1 of the UCO includes shops for the retail sale of goods other than hot food, shops for the sale of sandwiches or other cold food for consumption off the premises and shops used as an internet café where the primary use is to provide facilities enabling members of the public to access the internet.

He found the appellant’s evidence more compelling, indicating that consumption of food on the premises was an ancillary part of the business. He also observed that around half of the seats were high stools intended for customers waiting for their order or bar chairs and sofas, rather than dining chairs. He determined that the primary use of the premises was as a juice bar with a character falling within class A1 and granted a certificate of lawful use or development.

Inspector: Luke Perkins; Written representations

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