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Residents block plans for second River Cafe

Plans to turn a Mayfair car park into a second River Cafe restaurant have been scrapped following objections from local residents.

River Cafe co-founder Ruth Rogers said she had fallen 'in love at first sight' with the proposed location of a second restaurant on Grosvenor Hill, Mayfair
River Cafe co-founder Ruth Rogers said she had fallen ‘in love at first sight’ with the proposed location of a second River Cafe restaurant on Grosvenor Hill, Mayfair

As reported in the drinks business, River Cafe co-founder Ruth Rogers had intended to open a new restaurant – almost 30 years after opening the River Cafe in Hammersmith – next to the Gagosian Gallery on Grosvenor Hill, Mayfair, next year.

Rogers said at the time that she had fallen “in love at first sight” with proposed site.

However strong objections from residents has resulted in the property firm overseeing the planning of the restaurant to withdraw its planning application, the Evening Standard reported.

Craig McWilliam, head of Grosvenor’s London portfolio, said the company sympathised with residents’ views and that it would be looking for an alternative location for a new River Cafe in Mayfair.

“When we started consultation with residents and business occupiers it was clear residents had strong views,” McWilliam said.

“They were concerned about traffic and trading late into the evening. We concluded that on balance they were right – this was not the moment to put such an iconic restaurant into this particular location.”

Several residents in the streets close to the proposed site wrote to Grosvenor to say that they were “deeply worried and upset at the negative impact of a large seven-day-a-week restaurant”.

One commented that they did not want diners “revving their Ferraris outside until 1am”, the Standard reported.

Rogers founded the Michelin-starred River Cafe with her late business partner, Rose Gray, in 1987, but it took until last year to announce plans for a second venture.

“Most other restaurants that started at that time have two or three more by now,” she said, “but every time we thought about opening a new restaurant we did a new cookbook instead or just concentrated on making the River Café even better.”

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