Spitalfields café owner despairs at £100 penalty for leaving bay tree on pavement

joe's kid fashion street spitalfields
Seeds of discontent: Joe’s Kid café owner Danni Orsi is fuming over council’s £100 fixed-penalty notice and confiscation of her £75 bay tree

Spitalfields coffee shop Joe’s Kid has been slapped with a £100 fixed-penalty notice for “wilful obstruction of the highway”, after leaving a potted plant outside on the pavement.

Danni Orsi, who owns the café on Fashion Street, has labelled Tower Hamlets Council “bullies” and questioned how small businesses can survive when faced with such “ridiculous charges”.

“I’m 27 and I’ve worked really hard to open my shop. I have to pay business rates, wages, rent and bills – this is just too much,” said Ms Orsi.

“The plant had a small signpost in, and was tucked away on the pavement opposite my shop, outside an off-licence, whose owner is a friend of mine. He said I could put it there so people who came out the off-licence would see my shop. It wasn’t obstructing the pavement.”

The three offences of which the owners were found guilty by Tower Hamlets Council’s enforcement team are the “wilful obstruction of the highway; items placed on highway without authority; and no licence in place for items”.

joe's kid penalty notice
You must be kidding: the plant deemed to be ‘obstructing the highway’

Ms Orsi said: “Not only did they give me the notice without any warning, but they confiscated the plant, which my mother had bought for £75. I’m £175 down, and the whole thing seems absurd – they could have just come and told me and I would have taken the plant inside.

“It’s one thing after another with the council. They charge us small business owners £80 for putting out one extra bag of rubbish. It’s like they don’t want us to survive.”

Danni Orsi tweeted:

A council spokesperson said: “Any business that places an item on the public highway requires a Public Footway Licence. This is to ensure adequate pedestrian movement, whilst also enabling the business to legally place items, or allow an encroachment of their business, onto the public highway, where there is sufficient space.

“Licence applications are readily available from Tower Hamlets Council Market Services.”

  1. Muhammad Haque on Wednesday 11 May 2016 at 1:05 am

    I am inviting information from all who have had any similar experience with Tower Hamlets and or Hackney and or Newham or Southwark Lambeth Lewisham Council staff behaving irrationally with them.

    The evidence will be put to each offering Council leader or Executive Mayor to “explain”.

    Then the findings will be included in the Campaign REPORTS on the satellite TV ChanneliEurope

    Please send the evidence by email to


    How many words – 100 words to start, telling about the main wrong the Council did
    By when – send the info before 4 PM on Friday 13 for inclusion in the next programme.
    What facts to include: Your name or the full name of the person who experienced the wrong behaviour by the Council.

    Council INCLUDES any paid full time or part time staff or an agent or an actually authorised contractor
    The postal address and telephone number of the Council section/office that did the wrong

    0104 Hrs GMT London
    Wednesday 11 May 2016

  2. Muhammad Haque on Wednesday 11 May 2016 at 1:07 am

    The evidence will be put to each OFFENDING Council leader or Executive Mayor to “explain”.


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