Elaine Loughran, who runs the King William IV pub on Hampstead High Street, London, has sought legal advice and is now urging for support from the pub trade after she said a creperie stall owner has been using her water and land to run his business.
Edward de Mesquita, owner of La Creperie de Hampstead stall, has been using the facilities – including a large fridge and kitchen at the back of the pub’s garden - for 30 years. Star Pubs & Bars owns both the stall and the pub and has confirmed that the fridge and preparation area within the pub are being “legally occupied” by the creperie stall.
However, Loughran has insisted that the agreement is not included in her lease and said that it is not fair that she pays her neighbours bills.
She said she has been battling with the owner to either remove his equipment or pay £100 per week for an alternative space since she took over running the pub more than four years ago as she is looking to redevelop the beer garden. Her lawyers have now demanded de Mesquita remove his facilities from the pub’s garden and kitchen by 5 August.
'Struggling to survive'
Loughran said: “The staff at the creperie walk across my garden at least 100 times a day. They don’t pick up their rubbish on my land. They use my bathroom all day and all night.
“You wouldn’t plug your phone in your neighbour’s electricity, no one else pays the bills for my home, but he’s been leeching off my pub. I’m not trying to evict him but he cannot run his business on my pub. It’s detrimental to my business.”
She added that she is upset by the lack of support from her pub company and by a local petition with around 6,000 signatures which favours the creperie.
“I pay £3,000 a week on rent and trade around £4,000 a week for the brewery. I cannot afford to pay for his bills as well.
“I’m the last drinking pub left on the high street. I’m struggling to survive.
“I feel I am getting no back up. I want support from the trade because my brewery has not stood up for the publican.”
De Mesquita said he has his own electricity and gas supply but admitted he has been using water and land from the pub since he first started running the stall in the 1980s, under an agreement included in his lease. However, he said when a new lease was created for the pub in 2006 his rights were not written into it, even though they do still exist.
“She’s exploiting the fact that there has been a mistake on the conveyancing and has been harassing us ever since.
“Running a business with them next door is extremely difficult and it doesn’t do the pub any favours. The pub could be working alongside us but she sends everyone away. She’s upset the whole of the community.”
A spokesperson from Star Pubs & Bars said: "The King William IV and the La Creperie de Hampstead are both tenanted premises run by independent business people. Due to current conflicts between the two businesses, we are acting as mediators to try and resolve the issues between them, which includes certain legalities regarding their leases.
“We can confirm that the fridge and preparation area within the King William IV is being legally occupied by La Creperie de Hampstead.
“Ultimately, we would like both sides to resolve their differences as quickly as possible in order that they can continue to serve the local community and remain successful business operations.
“A decision has been made not to comment on the specifics of this case with a view to helping both parties come to a sensible resolution.”