Herne Hill café owner calls for more support from Lambeth Council

A Lambeth café owner claims his and other businesses are being pushed out of the market by the council.

Ericcos Christoforou, who owns Sesami in Herne Hill, said Lambeth Council had labelled his table and chairs obstructive and dangerous and tried to revoke their licence, despite having successfully applied for the last 10 years.

Removing them would reduce his outdoor seating by 70% and have a huge effect on his already struggling business.

“We’re all struggling, we’re not going to be very profitable for them,” said Mr Christoforou.

“Turnover has gone down by 30% over the last three years.

“If I wasn’t doing 80 hours a week, we would’ve gone under.”

He said the café was ordered to remove its table and chairs in April last year, as they restricted the pathway during the Sunday market.

When the market opened in 2012 it was coordinated by Lambeth Council, private contractor City & Country Farmers’ Markets (CCFM) and the Herne Hill Forum.

The council ousted the Herne Hill Forum after two years and ran the market in tandem with CCFM.

Giles Gibson, from the Herne Hill Forum, said: “Lambeth move very, very slowly.

“There are strict and inflexible conditions – too rigid.”

Local traders have proposed a new set up which would see one central column of side by side shops, though the idea has not been explored.

Some worry there are larger units available on Railton Road, which Mr Christoforou thinks will be taken by big businesses like Costa.

“This time next year it will be very different,” he said.

Lambeth Council did not respond to requests for comment.

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