Deliveroo faces the prospect of one of its key London delivery kitchens being shut down if it loses out in a row over planning permission.
The food delivery giant opened a working kitchen site in Roman Way Industrial Estate back in October, which is understood to produce food for more than 1,000 deliveries a day.
But according to the Islington Gazette, the kitchen is being operated “unlawfully” as Deliveroo didn’t seek planning permission from the council – instead it applied for a “certificate of lawfulness” in December, which was rejected by Islington Council last week.
According to the paper, the council’s enforcement team could now force Deliveroo to apply for retrospective planning permission – which if rejected would mean it has to shut the kitchen down.
Deliveroo has played down the issue, with a spokesperson for the business insisting that the company is well within its rights to operate on the site.
The commercial kitchen is one of many assembled by Deliveroo as part of its ‘Editions’ strategy. It allows it to produce the same dishes that would be produced by its restaurant partners on-site.
According to the Gazette, the Islington premises contains five kitchens that are open from 11am to 11pm every day.
A cover letter sent to the council from planning consultant Firstplan – representing Deliveroo – said the premises were originally given planning permission as a light industrial unit in 1981. Therefore, it said Deliveroo didn’t need to seek further permission as its food production business fits into the “light industrial” definition.
But Karen Sullivan, Islington’s service director for planning, rejected it. Her ruling said: “It is considered that the existing use of the site as a Deliveroo Editions commercial kitchen and delivery centre is not light industry use due to the nature of how the business operates, which is considered to be materially different in scope, scale and intensity to light industry use.
“Therefore, the operation cannot lawfully operate under [the original planning permission in 1981] on the site because planning permission is required for a change of use in this case. Therefore, the existing use is not lawful.”The Deliveroo spokesman told the Gazette: “As with many new innovations, we understand that some people may have questions about how it works. We have repeatedly been advised that we have the right licence for the Editions site in Islington, which is supported by the fact that other London councils have concluded it is the appropriate licence for Editions in their boroughs. We hope Islington Council will explain their decision and we continue to offer to work with them to address any concerns they may have.”