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Petition launched to save family run Kensington and Chelsea restaurant threatened by cinema expansion

Da Maria in Notting Hill Gate could close to make way for cinema expansion

Pasquale and Maria Ruocco(Image: Trattoria Da Maria)

A petition has been set up to save an Italian restaurant which could be threatened due to a proposed expansion of Gate Cinema.

The friends of Da Maria have set up the plea online to save the small family run Italian restaurant in Notting Hill Gate.

Plans have been submitted to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) to extend the cinema's foyer.

The plans, state that the architects, De Rosee Sa, want to "incorporate" the small restaurant into the cinema "to improve the aesthetic of Gate Cinema facade."

The Neapolitan restaurant was opened in 1980 by the Ruocco family.

The family found out about the plans after coming home from Italy.

Luciano, the son of owners Pasquale and Maria Ruocco, spoke to getwestlondon about the proposals.

Luciano said: "We first heard about the proposal plans when we came back from a family holiday in Naples.

"We found an unrecorded letter in the post from the council telling us about the proposed plans to our building.

"We visited the website, and there we saw all the plans and drawings which involved demolishing our wall to extend the cinema's foyer."

Save Da Maria(Image: Trattoria Da Maria )

Luciano said that the family "were shocked but also very scared and worried."

The family have not spoken to the council about the plans.

Luciano said: "As the application has already been made there is nothing we can do."

The target date decision on the expansion of the Picturehouse cinema, owned by Cineworld, is on September 28.

Documents sent to the council's planning department state: "Internally, integrating the Da Maria restaurant retail unit into the cinema allows for a larger foyer area for the cinema, improving the customers pre and post film experience.

"The capacity of the cinema is 182 seats, the additional space would allow more guests the opportunity to enjoy food and beverages before a film and reduce congestion.

"A larger foyer area would be a valuable amenity to the cinema, enabling the operator to improve customer experience with the aim to increase turnover.

"Ultimately the proposed improvements would help to ensure the longterm viability of this iconic cinema"

(Image: Google)

Luciano said: "The community have been amazing.

"Objections to the council include The Guardian, New York Times, Italian community etc, and we have over 1,500 petition signatures from all over the world with people offering their support."

Before the petition can be presented to the council it must reach 2,500 signatures.

"We are simply a family who serve Neapolitan family cooking, trying to make everyone feel welcome," said Luciano.

"If the outcome is negative, we have lost a family business which is our pride and joy."

RBCK has been contacted for comment.

Anyone wanting to sign the petition should visit here.

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