Restaurateur tackles council over scaffolding


By Niamh Anderson

ONE of Scotland’s top restaurateurs has been forced to close his newly-opened businesses because of scaffolding erected by a council.

Pierre Levicky, founder of the famous Pierre Victoire chain, opened a new restaurant in December last year only for it to disappear behind a tower of metal and wood just four months later.

An exasperated Levicky – who is understood to have lost 14,000 on the Edinburgh restaurant already – has been told the scaffolding will not be removed until September.

And now the chef has been forced to close the restaurant leaving ten people out of a job.

Mr Levicky, who ran the restaurant in partnership with Mark Lawrence, is also threatening to take the council to court if a solution is not found within the next few days.

The fish restaurant in Cockburn Street is part of a building which is owned by several landlords. Edinburgh council has stepped in to organise badly-needed roof repairs and will be bill the owners later.

Mr Levicky said:

“We were just starting to recover from the poor winter season because of the snow.

“It is five metres deep so no natural sunlight can come into the building. We’re completely in the shadows of this shabby scaffolding.

“The worst thing was that for the first five weeks of it being up, not one single worker showed up. “

Staff in the restaurant, Chez Jules Fish, had taken to social networking sites Twitter and Facebook to try and encourage people to visit the seafood eatery.

And Mr Levicky even ventured in to the street to try to entice customers.

He said:

“We’ve tried everything to entice people in but nobody’s coming.

“We’ve advertised on our website, hung lanterns around the entrance and even tried putting out tables and chairs. Can you believe that an environmental warden came around and demanded we remove them due to health and safety risks? “

“I am entitled by law to use my property as I wish and because of this mess, my restaurant is no longer fit for its purpose, and for this I think Edinburgh Council has a lot to answer for. “

But staff say that they were not aware how serious the problems at the restaurant were.

One former employee said:

“We knew we were having problems but we didn’t know it was so bad that it would have to close down. “

A council spokesman said:

“These works are necessary to remedy defects to the roof. Owners were advised in writing in early March that this was a 20-week contract and the project is running to schedule. “