February 9, 2023

Plans to run a multi-million 24-hour Greggs superstore in the heart of London have failed after the Met Police warned of a potential rise in crime and disorder.

Proposals had been made to use constant CCTV and even a door monitor to keep the flagship store, which will cover 1,500 square meters in Leicester Square, open all day.

But the hugely popular bakery chain suffered a setback after the Westminster City Council rejected the idea of ​​offering a 24-hour license for the company.

While the store is allowed to sell its iconic pastries all night, it can’t offer a full menu, such as bacon breakfast sandwiches or hot drinks, as licensing restrictions prevent the sale of such goods after 11pm.

Westminster Council described the plans as “half-baked” and warned that if the chain was left open all night, it could become a “hotspot for social unrest and antisocial behaviour”.

Karyn Abbott, a senior permit officer with the council, warned that the hot food and beverage offerings could act as a magnet for inebriated people – who, in turn, are more likely to disturb the local community.

Those concerns were shared by the Metropolitan Police, who officially protested the planning application.

In response, Greggs warned his customers that after 11pm they could become “confused” by the limited menu options, which could lead to further problems.

Plans to run a multi-million 24-hour Greggs superstore in the heart of London’s West End have failed after the Met Police warned of a potential rise in crime and disorder

In addition to using CCTV cameras and using security to man the doors, Greggs also pledged to curb the excess waste that accumulates outside the bakery.

But PC Adam Deweltz wrote to the city’s licensing committee, saying police believed a nighttime permit would only contribute to “crime and disorder.”

“The Metropolitan Police, as the responsible authority, is protesting this request,” he added.

Aicha Less, Westminster City Councillor, added: ‘We are as excited as anyone about Greggs’ arrival in Leicester Square and I’m sure people across the West End will be flocking to have a sausage roll, steak bake or jam donut.

“However, there have been legitimate concerns expressed by the police and the local population that these plans are half-baked.

“There are concerns that businesses operating 24/7 in the city center present challenges and that the bakery could become a hotspot for nighttime social unrest and antisocial behaviour.”

The building, with a floor space of 145 m2, is located next to M&Ms World and opposite the Lego Store in the heart of London’s West End. It used to be a branch of the Turkish bakery chain Simit Sarayi.

With the historic destination welcoming 2.5 million visitors each week, tourists can experience the much-loved British bakery after it opened earlier this month.

The building permit documents were first posted on the Westminster City Council website last September, with an initial opening date of February 2022 – which has since been postponed – and an estimated cost of £2 million.

The store opened a blockbuster-style premiere earlier this month with much fanfare, featuring a blue carpet, which was filled with influencers and special guests.

A Greggs spokesperson previously told MailOnline: ‘The opening of our new flagship store in Leicester Square will be a huge moment as we continue to expand our presence in prime locations in central London.

‘We are delighted to be premiering our delicious food to new customers, including many tourists from outside the UK who will have the chance to experience Greggs for the first time.’

The Newcastle-based company has focused in recent years on opening stores in top areas of London, with the new outlet following stores at The Strand, Canary Wharf, Paddington, St Pancras and Kings Cross.

The bakery chain is set to open 150 new stores in Britain in the coming year, bringing the total to nearly 2,500 – but the flagship at 1 Leicester Square has quickly established itself as the most prestigious.