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Greggs plan to open 24 hours a day in Leicester Square rejected by council


Greggs opened in Leicester Square to great fanfare earlier this month
// Westminster Council has rejected Greggs application to open 24 hours a day in its new Leicester Square flagship
// The council said the branch would become a hotspot for crime and disorderly behaviour

Greggs’ plan to open 24 hours a day in its new Leicester Square flagship has been thwarted by Westminster Council.

The Metropolitan Police had raised concerns over the 1,500sq ft branch, dubbed Mega Greggs, becoming a hotspot for crime and disorderly behaviour despite the bakery chain offering to use constant CCTV at the store and security staff.

Aicha Less, the council’s cabinet member for licensing and communities, said: “We’re as excited as anybody about the arrival of Greggs in Leicester Square and I’m sure people across the West End will flock to get themselves a sausage roll, steak bake or jam doughnut.

“However, legitimate concerns have been raised by the police and local people that these plans are half baked.

“There are worries that businesses serving 24/7 in the city centre creates challenges and that the bakery could become a hot spot for late night disturbances and anti-social behaviour.”

The store currently opens from 6am to 11pm between Monday and Saturday.

A local councillor had expressed concern that the doorman would not be able to prevent trouble during the night, according to the BBC.

READ MORE: In pictures: ‘Mega Greggs’ opens in Leicester square

In a letter written to the council, they added: “Fast food premises are recognised as being ‘honeypots’ for people who have been drinking and retain people in the [area] in direct contravention of the cumulative impact policy which tries to encourage efficient dispersal.”

However, Greggs said the extended opening hours would appeal to emergency service and shift workers.

A spokesperson told the BBC: “Greggs is an excellent neighbour… there’s no intention to draw hordes of new people in. There are other Greggs offers in the locality, so it’s not as if everybody needs to ascend upon this particular premises.”

Planning permission documents were first submitted to Westminster City Council’s website last September. The Leicester Square Greggs store opened earlier this month with a blockbuster-style premiere, fit with a blue carpet.

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