BISTRO RE­OPENS AMID RENT DIS­PUTE

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By ROSANNA CAN­DLER

RESTAU­RA­TEUR Alain Fabregues’ pub­lic protest against a 66 per cent rent in­crease hit boil­ing point last Tues­day when land­lord Lepley Prop­er­ties forced him to re­move signs from his Hay Street restau­rant’s win­dows.

Mr Fabregues said the only thing keep­ing a smile on his face was re­turn­ing to Bistro des Artistes as head chef when the Su­bi­aco restau­rant re­opens to­day.

“Of course I can­not af­ford to get out of my lease, so we need to keep go­ing for another 23 months,” he said.

“The pub­lic re­sponse to my story has been beyond imag­i­na­tion.

“If you want to help, come and eat in the restau­rant. What is hap­pen­ing to me is hap­pen­ing else­where in Subi- aco, the peo­ple re­spond­ing may be the next ones.”

Mr Fabregues said landowner Bar­rie Lepley con­tacted him through lawyers last week to ei­ther re­move the signs or face evic­tion.

He said Mr Lepley gave him un­til close of business last Wed­nes­day to re­move his freezer goods, dry store and restau­rant equip­ment from an ad­ja­cent un­tenanted room be­fore he changed the locks.

“Bar­rie of­fered me the room when we moved in three years ago be­cause the space was too small to run a restau­rant, and I have al­ways paid the elec­tric­ity there,” he said.

“I had to move all my be­long­ings to my farm in Toodyay, and now I have no place for my cold stor­age.”

Ann Bradley, the gen­eral man­ager of Lepley Prop­er­ties’ hold­ing company Sa­nur, said Mr Lepley had a pol­icy not to speak to the press.

Mr Fabregues said he be­lieved his right to free speech had been com­pro­mised.

“They say I am not al­lowed sig­nage with­out ask­ing them first – but the prob­lem is not me writ­ing on the win­dow, it is what I have writ­ten,” he said.

“I should be able to say my veal is from White Rocks, my lamb from Amelia Park and my rent from Lepley Prop­er­ties.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d432008

Alain Fabregues says he’s ready for business.

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