Food delivery partner Deliveroo is under fire by local authorities for constructing its Deliveroo Editions kitchens without first seeking planning permission.
The Deliveroo Editions pods which enable chefs to make takeaway food for high-demand restaurants such as MEATLiquor, Ahi Poke and Busaba without the need for a customer-facing front which requires extra staff.
They have popped up in locations such as Camberwell, Dulwich, Canary Wharf, Battersea in London and also Hove near Brighton in metal shipping containers in disused carparks and industrial buildings.
According to an investigation by the Guardian, three councils have found that Deliveroo did not apply for planning permission before constructing the kitchens in unused car parks and industrial estates.
Edition kitchens in Camberwell, Brighton and Hove and Haringey have all been found by councils to not have permission. The Camberwell site in the Valmar Road trading estate has been issued a planning enforcement notice.
It was brought to the council's attention after a series of resident complaints about excessive noise from delivery vans and mopeds going to and from the Edition kitchen, which can accommodate up to seven chefs.
In May 2017, a resident complained to Camberwell Community Council about the arrival of the kitchen. "For several weeks now the new kitchens have been operating from between approximately 5.30pm and midnight every evening, and from about midday at weekends. During these hours there is a constant stream of Deliveroo motorbikes driving at speed into and out of the estate."
The letter also expressed concerns for safety after one resident was "was nearly hit when a Deliveroo motor scooter mounted the corner of the curb when leaving the estate."
The complaints and planning enforcement notices may halt Deliveroos plans to have 200 Edition kitchens in operation before the end of 2017.
Revenue for the brand was up 611% to £128.6m for the year end 31 December 2016 compared to £18.1m in 2015 showing increased popularity with customers; however the cost of getting the food to the customer was so high that the company only made a gross profit of just £1.1m.
A spokesperson for Deliveroo said: "We have been talking with local residents to put in place measures to deal with any concerns. Where there are issues with planning permission, we will work closely with relevant local authorities to ensure they are resolved."
Videos from The Caterer archives