Luxford Burgers ‘ghost kitchen’ served with eviction notice after failing to adhere to strict planning regulations

The owners claim that they have been advised by council officials that planning permission was not needed (Pic: Luxford Burgers)The owners claim that they have been advised by council officials that planning permission was not needed (Pic: Luxford Burgers)
The owners claim that they have been advised by council officials that planning permission was not needed (Pic: Luxford Burgers)
A gourmet burger company which operates from a ghost kitchen has been forced to close by Edinburgh City Council after failing to adhere to strict planning regulations.

Luxford Burgers, which operates a commercial kitchen from 33A Albert Street received the eviction notice from the council’s planning and building department three days ago.

Ghost kitchens, which are increasing in popularity, are professional food preparation and cooking facilities set up to operate as click and collect or delivery-only service without having an actual restaurant. In Luxford’s case, it operates from a five ton trailer, designed to look like a shipping container, and offer a click and collect, or delivery service.

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Since moving on to the land in September owners claim that they have been visited by the environmental health department, a council street enforcer and a planning officer who each advised that they did not require planning permission.

The council said that in November 2020 the business was visited by planning officers who told the operators that it could remain working from the site for up to 28 days a year without planning permission, however as the container has been on site continuously since September which has been well over the 28 day period, it is now breaching planning regulations.

Luxford’s owners, Alex Galpin and Jake Payne, now have 28 days to move their shipping container, which itself will cost around £1,500, and thousands of pounds of kitchen equipment off the land before the council sends enforcement officers to remove them.

Alex said: “We moved on to the land in September and started trading on October 8, at the time we spoke to environmental health and a street enforcer who both said because the kitchen is a shipping container and moveable, it doesn’t need planning permission.

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“We traded for two months before we were visited by a planning officer, and when we spoke with them everything was checked out.

“Next thing, a letter arrived a few days ago to advise we were unlawfully sitting on the ground with no planning permission and had to leave within 28 days before enforcement action was taken.”

Both owners claim that they could not see an option to appeal the decision to the council, or offer a right of reply to the notice.

Alex added: “As it currently stands we don’t have the financial means to physically remove everything within 28 days and for legal representation.

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“We believe the council is acting against us because they are unable to collect business rates from our property. If we are evicted, we will undoubtedly go bust.

“We’re two guys, both under 25 trying to make a decent local business in Edinburgh.”

The eviction will impact the two owners and three members of staff.

Ideally, Alex and Jake wish to stay on the premise and continue trading, but in a petition are asking the council to extend the notice period to 84 days to allow for them to gather the funds needed for the move and have the time to move the five ton container and equipment from the land which would prevent their business from going under.

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A council spokesperson said: “We received a complaint that a hot food take-away was operating from a container unit without planning permission. Last November, the business operator was told that it could operate from the site for up to 28 days a year without permission.

"We’re liaising with the operator, who has been asked to remove the container unit from the site within the next 28 days as it has been on site since September and is now breaching planning regulations.”

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