FIVE hundred residents have signed a petition, and are staging a 'sit-out' protest over the council’s rules regarding street cafes.
A number of businesses in Notting Hill have seen their licences for advertising A-frames and tables and chairs on the pavements revoked.
The Kitchen and Pantry and The Grocer in Elgin Crescent, and Teas Me cafe in Ladbroke Crescent, have had their licences taken away after breaching planning conditions.
But neighbours and customers say Kensington and Chelsea Council has taken an ‘aggressive attitude’ towards the retailers.
Kitchen and Pantry owner Aga Dunaj said: "After having our private forecourt tables and chairs licence removed by enforcement officers, the company is now faced with a real dilemma.
"The shop already absorbs extortionate rent and rates of £200,000 a year, and now the council may have broken the camel’s back as it refused any appeal, and during the period that the cafe makes money, they have taken our tables and chairs away, losing us £800 per week. We tried to mediate, to propose a variation in plans and then to appeal. They said no every time."
Dismayed regulars have formed their own petition, gathering 500 names in just a week, and will be staging a protest on Saturday at 10am outside Kitchen and Pantry.
Customer Claire Simmons said: "The council’s behaviour on this looks very like an attack on local independent businesses and on the pavement café culture so endorsed by London’s Mayor, as well as a heavy-handed disregard for the local community who very much value this facility."
A council spokesman said: "The decision to amend the licence that allowed the Kitchen and Pantry to have tables and chairs on Elgin Crescent was not taken lightly. We are all for an al fresco meal or coffee in the Royal Borough but we also have to make sure that the borough’s pavements are not turned into obstacle courses for pedestrians.
"The owners of the premises were warned on a number of occasions by council officers that there were too many chairs on the Elgin Crescent pavement but unfortunately these warnings were not heeded, which resulted in the licence that allowed for tables and chairs on the Elgin Crescent frontage being amended. Tables and chairs are still allowed on the Kensington Park Road frontage of the building."