Award-winning fish and chip shop ordered to take down Union flag

Golden Chippy owner and head chef Chris Kanizi with his patriotic mural
Golden Chippy owner and head chef Chris Kanizi with his patriotic mural - The Telegraph/David Rose

London’s “best” fish and chip shop has been ordered to remove a Union flag mural by council officials.

The owner of the Golden Chippy, in Greenwich, south-east London, was left bemused after a design featuring the flag held by a humanoid fish and a slogan saying “A Great British Meal” were allegedly deemed inappropriate for the area.

Chris Kanizi and his staff have had a strong footfall of visitors, including many overseas tourists, since the shop was deemed London’s top-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor in 2016.

Painted only a month ago, at a cost of £250, the mural was providing a further boon to his business by giving social media-conscious customers a selfie opportunity. It is not the first time Mr Kanizi, who arrived in the UK in 1977 from northern Cyprus, has fallen foul of Greenwich council with his zeal for celebrating fish and chips.

In 2016, the town hall ordered him to remove a much larger sign – about 17 feet high – featuring a very similar design, from above the door.

He relented after a two-year battle and a petition of support, which attracted more than 3,000 signatures when he was faced with being taken to court.

“It’s just something to put a smile on people’s faces,” he said. “But the council said “this is a preservation area – you can’t have that and you’ve got to paint over it. They also said people had been complaining, but I don’t believe that. Everyone who has talked to me say they love it”.

Mr Kanizi arrived in London with the ambition of studying medicine, but says he instead became “an expert fish surgeon”.

Greenwich council have told Chris Kanizi  to take down his much-loved mural
Greenwich council have told Chris Kanizi to take down his much-loved mural - NIGEL HOWARD

The 65 year-old has run the Golden Chippy for 20 years and lives two doors down.

“I’m going to stick it out for as long as I can,” he said. “They haven’t given me a date to paint over it yet, but they will.”

“I’ve got so many international customers. They all like taking a photo with the mural in the background.”

The shop is located in a 19th-century conservation area.

However, Mr Kanizi has previously pointed to pictures of the corner property from the 1940s, when the premises was a cafe, which included numerous large trade signs.

At the time of the last furore, a local residents group described the council’s definition of heritage as “narrow and out of touch”.

A Greenwich council spokesman said: “Following a number of complaints made to local ward councillors, an enforcement case was raised about the mural in question.

“Our Planning Enforcement team is investigating this as it is effectively an unauthorised advert for the chip shop. The owner has agreed to paint over it.

“We will always try to negotiate with the owner before proceeding to a formal planning enforcement notice.”

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