Chicken shop destroyed by fire was trading in breach of order (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Wood Street Grill & Chicken in Walthamstow had been serving takeaway meals despite not having planning permission to do so
A chicken shop that was destroyed by fire this month was trading in contravention of a council order, it has emerged.
This is the second suspected breach of an order relating to the building.
Firefighters say the blaze began at Wood Street Grill & Chicken on October 18 after a deep fat fryer was left on overnight.
In February the council granted permission for 169 Wood Street to be used as a restaurant with no takeaway sales, but when the shop opened in July the owner was served with a temporary notice to cease trading after just one day.
A council spokesman said, despite sending letters to the owner and meeting with him before the restaurant opened, it became clear in April that the unit was being converted into a hot food takeaway.
This was followed by a notice ordering takeaway sales to cease.
Councillor Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, said: “The council served a notice against this takeaway when it first opened back in July ordering it to stop trading with immediate effect.
“The owner has been in breach of that notice ever since and we have been pursuing legal action against them.”
The owner had been due in court the day the restaurant caught fire, but relatives said she was abroad.
A different order banning the residential use of flats above the shop because of safety regulation violations, which was issued after another major fire in the building in August 2012, was also suspected to have been breached.
Firefighters said they saw evidence of people living upstairs after this month’s fire.
It is not known if the owner of the chicken shop also owns the upstairs flats.
The leaseholder and operator of the shop, Akthar Kahn, failed to attend court on October 18 and the hearing has been adjourned until November 8.
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