Stratford businesses fined �80 for advertising on street

Local pubs and restaurants in Stratford say Newham Council are pricing them out of business after they were issued �80 fines for putting “A” boards outside their own premises.

The owners of three businesses in particular, the Queen’s Head Pub, the Latin Quarter Bar and Cafe Mondo, expressed their anger to the Recorder last week after they were fined by licensing officers.

Tony Zeolla, owner of Italian restaurant Cafe Mondo, said that when the officer notified him about the sign, he immediately apologised and moved it but was fined anyway.

Tony, whose family have been trading in Newham for over 30 years, said: “I think it’s all about revenue. I haven’t even taken �80 so far today.

“The catering industry is hard to stay in and do they want to see all these places close? No, help us, promote the area and make it busier.”

They said that it is hard for people to even see their businesses through the road works on Stratford High Street and they have very few ways to attract customers.

Daniel Downes who runs the Latin Quarter on the Broadway said: “They say they want a nighttime economy in Stratford but then they’re stopping us from advertising. I’m putting my place on the market to get out of here.”

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The owner of the Queen’s Head Pub in West Ham Lane, who chose to remain unnamed, said: “I’ve been having trouble getting permission from licensing officers for an outside smoking area, trying to get the drinkers off the street and they’re bothered about this.

“I am trying really hard to make Newham a better, nicer, safer place and they’re on about my ‘A’ boards.”

A Newham Council spokesman said: “The council is working with businesses across the borough to help them prepare for the 2012 Games and we will continue to support them to ensure they make the most of this unique opportunity. “Existing laws mean that the council has a legal obligation to ensure public highways, including pavements, are clear for pedestrians, particularly those who are visually impaired, as boards can reduce the available space for walking and risk accidents.”