Many a hungry film fan, tourist, actor or theatregoer has been delighted to stumble across Gaby’s for a quick falafel or salt beef sandwich. This small Jewish ‘deli’ (it’s more a buzzing café) has become a West End landmark, feeding the masses since 1965. We’re sad to learn that Gaby’s (and 4 neighbouring businesses) are being forced to shut down thanks to a planning application by the building owner, Gascoyne Holdings Ltd. Employee Mehmen, who has worked at Gaby’s for the last 30 years, said ‘everyone is extremely sad but we don’t think anything can be done to stop it’. Councillor Robert Davis, Chairman of Westminster City Council’s planning sub-committee, said: ‘The committee considered views from existing tenants, the applicant and residents. The extension will significantly improve the look and feel of St Martin’s Court and the surrounding area, and in the long term these benefits will outweigh the loss of the existing retail units. Because of this the committee granted conditional permission.’ The final decision as to what will be built lies in the hands of Gascoyne Holdings Ltd. Jewish delis are an increasingly rare breed in central London (although the Polpo team are planning to open Mishkin’s, a ‘Jewish deli’, in November 2011). The passing of Gaby’s will be the loss of a great institution.
We have until about the end of September to get the matter recalled to Westminster’s scrutiny committee – it has to be asked for, by a councillor, within 15 days of the decision which was Thursday 15th.
==== WHAT YOU CAN DO! ====
1. EMAIL THE COUNCIL
– Email Westminster planning department and object to the decision: email@example.com
– If you’re a Westminster resident, email your councillor and ask them to refer the decision to the scrutiny committee.
– If you’re not a resident, email the three councillors for Gaby’s ward and ask them to refer the matter for scrutiny:
2. MAKE A PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE PLANNING APPLICATION
The planning application can be viewed at:
– Leave a comment by pressing the “Make a Public Comment” button
Be sure to select the “Stance: Object” option on the form. Note that “the potential loss of a valued local service or use” is listed as a planning issue on the “How to comment” page.
– Alternatively, contact the Deputy leader of Council and chair of planning, Councillor Davis:
3. SIGN THE PETITION
– You can do that here:
4. SPREAD THE WORD!
– Please share this page with anyone you know who loves Gaby’s, and forward the above info / links to the petition, etc, to friends who aren’t on Facebook.
– Tweet your support using the hashtag #savegabysdeli
– If you’ve done all of the above and still want to do more, why not try writing a letter to a newspaper or to the Mayor of London?
– And, finally, if anyone knows any stars and famous people – and goodness, enough work in theatreland, some of you must, PLEASE ask them for support – a shame I know but that’s how you get headlines.