JUSTICE FOR SPENCER'S CAFE

by Alan Dillon

JUSTICE FOR SPENCER'S CAFE

by Alan Dillon
Alan Dillon
I am an ordinary hard working man desperately trying to get justice because I have lost the business I created through sheer hard work.
Funded
on 29th May 2018
£2,565
pledged by 100 people
Alan Dillon
I am an ordinary hard working man desperately trying to get justice because I have lost the business I created through sheer hard work.

Who am I? 

My family and I are asking for your help in our fight for justice.

My name is Alan, and I've have run Spencer’s cafe at the kiosk in Walpole Park Ealing for 10 years, having created it from scratch where there was previously no cafe at all. With fantastic produce, prices and a strong brand of friendly community spirit, Spencer’s is a thriving and much-loved cafe with a  large and loyal clientele.

The cafe I founded, and which is loved by the people of Ealing has been awarded to an alternative provider who will likely increase prices. We are mounting a legal challenge to get justice and we need your help. Please contribute now and share this page. 


Case background

Spencer's cafe has been at the centre of the Ealing community for 10 years. But the Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery Trust  (PMGT) has brought this to an abrupt end by awarding tenancy of Spencer’s to another company, Social Pantry. The formal tender process began in late 2017 but PMGT invited some potential bidders to view the site earlier in the year, giving interested parties plenty of time to prepare their bids.  We don’t know if Social Pantry was one of those as no-one is answering our questions.

An already successful catering company, Social Pantry has been awarded both the kiosk as well as the garden restaurant. (No problem with the latter!), increasing its portfolio of numerous London venues. 

I feel the odds may have been stacked against me from the beginning as any bidder who was interested in expanding – like Social Pantry - would most likely have bid for both. My only ambition was to keep the small and thriving business I’d started.

The Director of Pitzhanger has written to all Ealing councillors, admitting that this exercise has been about ‘revenues’  It seems PMGT may  all along have wanted someone who will be able to pay a higher ground rent and ultimately, perhaps, charge higher prices to our loyal customers.   It is worth noting that no Ealing residents were consulted about these changes, despite PMGT’s stated aim being to serve the local community, and explanations are still in very short supply.

Click here to view a video about Spencer's Cafe

Legal investigation

Importantly there are questions surrounding a possible conflict of interest in the shape of social/family links between Alexandra Head, CEO of Social Pantry, and the chair of PMGT and his family. Despite the Trust’s downplaying these links,  there is plenty of interaction visible on social media.  And questions (again, unanswered) have been raised about whether there may also be commercial links linking the Cowper-Coles family to Social Pantry through shareholdings in one of their suppliers, FarmDrop.  Again, our (inconvenient) questions are not being answered and we are persisting in asking all parties provide transparency on these matters. My thriving business and loyal customer base is apparently not enough to convince that I have viability.


Current situation

I received news of Social Pantry’s award via email in mid-April 2018 and was expected to vacate by 30th April 2018. I will apparently receive no compensation for my hard work and dedication that I have poured into creating Spencer’s from nothing. 

Me and my hardworking family and dedicated staff have lost our livelihoods and the people of Ealing have lost a café run in the way they love.

On the night of April 30th Ealing council and PMGTentered the cafe, changed locks and now refuse to acknowledge our solicitor’s letters which stated a belief that these actions were illegal. My property was thrown out into the rain despite written assurances I had 14 days to collect it and currently Social Pantry are using my outside tables for their customers!

We need strong legal muscle to help us fight for justice, compensation and answers to the many questions about the tender process as a whole. But we are up against a powerful machine which seems to be operating in a largely clandestine way. Help us get to the truth.  

Help us get justice. Help by contributing now and sharing this page.  Thank you.

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