But what sort of fight did you have in mind? Judging from the report, the council concluded that there was no valid reason to refuse the application - ie the previous waste problems had been addressed. So a refusal would have led to an appeal, which would have been expensive for council tax payers, and which Caffe Nero would have won. I'd rather the council picked fights they might win.
The Lordship Lane case is more complicated because the main issue was the controls put in place to maintain a Balance of shops and cafes in the street.
Of course, another point re. the St Mary Overie Dock case is that planning permission for the filling in of the arches at the end of Clink Street was granted on the basis of educational use in connection with the Golden Hinde.
If the original application had been for a coffee shop, would it have been considered differently?
I think the councillors did the exact right thing. They expressed their strong displeasure and have created negative publicity for the firm. Plus, all the residents/businesses neighbouring this (i.e. lots of apartment occupiers) will have been notified about it and will have had their chance to object/support and to find out that Caffe Nero decided to start trading without a valid planning permission in place!
There were probably no valid planning reasons to refuse the application so Caffe Nero would, as is their right, likely have appealed and won thousands of pounds' costs off the council.