Council poised to take enforcement action over 'illegal' hotel in Redbridge
PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 May 2019
Officers at Redbridge Council are preparing to slap an unlawful guest house with an enforcement notice almost two years after it was first reported to the council by residents.
According to records on booking.com, The Lakeside in Lakeside Avenue has been accepting guests since August 2016 despite never having obtained planning permission for a change of use from a house to a hotel.
The 'hotel', which charges between £40 a night for a standard double room and £75 for a double room, advertises online and was known to officers since at least August 2017.
A spokeswoman for Redbridge Council said: "We are aware of the issues and have been investigating this site.
"Whilst it takes time to gather all the necessary evidence to make a case, we are due to issue an enforcement notice shortly."
On booking websites, The Lakeside says it offers "accommodation with free WiFi and TV" and continental breakfast, and has been reviewed by 649 people on booking.com since May 2017.
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A booking.com visitor posting in July 2018 wrote: "This is a bed and breakfast, plain and simple. Rooms are clean and comfortable. It's not a Premier Inn, but it does not pretend to be."
But another person posting in February 2019 said: "Doesn't look at all like the pictures! Had no knowledge of our booking, 'includes breakfast' was a shared kitchen cereal box. It felt unprofessional and unsafe."
The property has no website of its own and is not marked as a hotel on the exterior. Its listing on Tripadvisor was recently removed.
A neighbour in Lakeside Avenue told the Recorder: "We don't know who's running it. The family moved away somewhere else. There's always two to three families there, at least overnight, and workmen come and stay as well. We haven't had any trouble but it's not very nice to have a B&B here with people coming in and out all the time."
According to emails seen by the Recorder, officers at Redbridge were told by the management the house would be "emptied" in December 2017.
When the unlawful use id not stop, officers began preparing a notice again in February, but this ground to a halt due to a dispute between the legal owner, who bought the house in 2001, and the agent.
When we visited the house last week the woman in charge of the property said "no-one runs this place" and refused to answer questions about the business. Management at The Lakeside have since been re-approached for comment.