BBC Apprentice star wins battle to open bakery until 10pm after neighbour's complaint

A former Apprentice winner has ruffled some feathers in South London as she’s applied to serve booze and play music in one of her bakeries until late into the evening.

Carina Lepore, who won The Apprentice in 2019, sent plans to Bromley Council for her bakery in Beckenham to stay open for events until 10pm. But Ms Lepore said she is not turning the shop into a “nightclub and party destination”.

The bakery, Dough Artisan Bakehouse, first applied to extend opening hours to midnight every day. But, after complaints from locals, Ms Lepore cut back the hours to 10pm. The bakery is currently open until 6pm.

food, bbc apprentice star wins battle to open bakery until 10pm after neighbour's complaint

Carina Lepore

Ms Lepore said at a licensing meeting for Bromley Council on October 24 that she feels the plans have been blown “massively out of context” by the objections, and that she sees the application as an “add-on service” for her current customers. The businesswoman said she plans on holding wine evenings for locals and movie screenings for children.

She said: “If I could go back to the people that did object and tell them in person, I feel like they might be a bit more understanding as to what I would like to offer to Beckenham.”

Councillor Jean Bywater said the premises had a “very long history of nuisance” by the previous tenants, and that Ms Lepore had previously received three complaints for an opening party she had in the garden of the bakery in 2020. She added: “This is a statutory nuisance because it interferes with someone’s right to enjoy their own property to the level where they can’t do it to a reasonable standard.”

In response, Ms Lepore said that the complaints happened because of a DJ playing at the party and that she would not plan to do any events similar to that style in future. She also said the police came that night and said “everything was fine”. Cllr Bywater said she had not yet verified this with the Met.

The plans sent by Ms Lepore received 28 objections by locals, saying that the late-night drinking was “out of context” with the area and would cause an “untold public nuisance of noise”. Residents said there were noise issues with a bar and shisha lounge that was in the venue before Dough Artisan Bakehouse.

Neighbour Emma Rogers said at the meeting that noise officers found sound from the previous tenants was over 30 decibels louder in her bedroom than it was in the bar. Ms Rogers added: “That’s not something that’s ever going to change, we’re not going to change the geography there. It’s to do with the length of the gardens and the height of those houses. And that’s why it needs to be monitored within the bedrooms of anyone who’s affected which, in the case of the [previous occupant], was every night.”

To summarise her case, Ms Lepore said: “I can’t speak for future tenants and I can’t speak for the past tenants because I’m not them. All I can do is speak for me and Dough, the brand that I represent, and the business partners that I walked in with that I will not do anything that is going to cause an incident.”

Ms Lepore won the fifteenth series of The Apprentice in 2019, with Lord Alan Sugar investing £250,000 into the businesswoman’s bakery. She opened her first Dough bakery in Herne Hill in 2018, before opening a second store in Beckenham in 2020 after winning the show.

At the end of the meeting, the committee approved the application, allowing Dough Artisan Bakehouse in Beckenham to be open until 10pm inside and 9pm outside.

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