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London coronavirus: Celebrities will now be able to eat/pose outside at hip haunt Chiltern Firehouse, but there’s a catch


One of London’s hottest celebrity haunts beloved by A-listers including Hollywood stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and the Beckhams can put tables and chairs on the pavement despite residents’ complaints that it was “a poor neighbour” with a history of noise.

The Chiltern Firehouse opened in 2013 in a former 1880s fire station and rapidly became one of the top places for star spotting in London.

It has space for 250 diners inside and has some of the most sought after tables for those who want to brush shoulders with celebrities. It has also attracted paparazzi keen to snap celebrities.

The popular Marylebone eatery asked to create a “Parisian style” cosmopolitan atmosphere by putting ten tables and 20 chairs on the pavement in Chiltern Street from 9am to 8pm.

Westminster’s planning sub-committee approved the application (Tuesday, April 28) but said it sympathised with residents’ concerns.

The approval is for one year – as with any permission for street tables and chairs. It will be reviewed then.

Because the committee was held virtually no objectors or supporters were allowed to speak at the meeting.

Chiltern Firehouse in Chiltern Street has been given a poor hygiene rating

However there were a “large number of objections from neighbouring residents”. Westminster City Council consulted 216 people and 88 objected, with 128 in support.

A further seven people objected to the revised plans and four more people wrote in support. According to a council report, objectors claimed business owner Chiltern Street Hotel Limited “is a poor neighbour generating noise and disturbance to residents”.

Since the application was lodged in January the hotel revised its plans and suggested stopping people using the pavement seats at 8pm.

Emails were still arriving in the hours before Tuesday’s (April 28) planning sub committee.

The company had originally applied for 20 tables and 40 chairs and nine outdoor heaters on the pavement for breakfasters at 8am until 11pm.

Kate Beckinsale and Len Wiseman were seen at the Chiltern Firehouse last Tuesday (July 29)

A previous application in 2014 was withdrawn following “substantial opposition”, according to a council report.

Current objections include fears that “paparazzi nuisance will be worsened by streetside tables” and they could attract more cars, visitors, congestion and noise.

Some objectors also said they have to call the Firehouse regularly about noise after 1am and complained that they can already hear conversations at street level.

One objector wrote that the restaurant “has brought noise, distress, and unpleasant inconsiderate behaviour.

“There are regularly loud cars speeding up and down Chiltern Street in the evenings”.

Another objector said residents would be disturbed by noise even with fewer tables and chairs.

Another said: “Allowing this expansion into public space will unbalance the local area, destroy the mixed nature of the street and provide an intolerable nuisance to local residents. “

The Marylebone Association welcomed the “substantial” cut in the number of tables and chairs and the “more modest” change to the hours.

But according to planning documents it said “outside pavement seating will result in significant further disturbance to local residents”.

One supporter wrote: “One of my favourite spots in London, great staff, fabulous food , amazing decor and beautiful garden, good for work, dine and entertain. Me and my friend love this place , definitely the right experience if you want to breathe in the exclusive air of London middle-high society! Always great people!”

In planning documents the hotel said that tables and chairs would be supervised by a manager and would be put away at 8pm nightly. It also pledged that its security door team would “ensure that guests leave the external seating area quietly and disperse promptly to avoid impact on surrounding local residents.”


Planning sub committee chairman, James Spencer, said: “I really do empathise with neighbours because by all accounts the Chiltern Firehouse has not been a good neighbour.”

Deputy chair Louise Hyams added: “I totally sympathise with the residents and a large number of objections have come in at the 13th hour even as this committee was sitting.”

She said the council had to support businesses which “are going through a terrible time”, but added that it is in the applicant’s interest to make sure there is no noise or disturbance if it wants the application renewed in a year’s time.

“I do hope the applicant keeps to its world when it says it wants to be a good neighbour in the future,” she said.

Councillor Matt Noble opposed the scheme due to the history of noise disturbance.

“I do hope that I am proven wrong,” he said.

Because of the coronavirus crisis the restaurant will not be able to get the changes underway immediately.

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If you have a story for us, please email our reporter julia.gregory@reachplc.com





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