'Restaurant made me pay £3 fee to take in my baby'

A mother has told how she was made to pay £3 to take her newborn baby into Britain's biggest restaurant.

Natasha Young told staff at the Cosmo restaurant that her son Kaedon was just six weeks old and that she was breast-feeding him.

But they refused to take the charge off her bill, saying the pushchair was taking up space in the 800-seat, 22,000 sqft oriental buffet restaurant in the Valley Leisure Park, Croydon.

Ms Young said: "I was told the pushchair was taking up space. It was full but I had booked a table. When I got there they said I have to pay for the baby even though he does not eat. I was told he was taking up space. I offered to put the pushchair back in the car and they said we still had to pay for the space he was taking up."

The 34-year-old from Thornton Heath, Croydon, who went to the restaurant last week, added: "I was really upset and angry - I could not believe it. I have never come across something like this before. It's disgraceful."

Another woman, Ana Sheridan, 28, was also told she would have to pay for her six-month-old child. The accounts clerk from Wallington had booked a table for 17 on Sunday.

She said: "I was astonished as we explained she was exclusively breastfed and would be sitting on our laps, therefore not consuming any food or occupying an extra seat. They said it was their new policy. That was all."

A spokeswoman at the company declined to comment. The Croydon branch became the UK's largest restaurant last year.

Last month the restaurant was criticised by fire inspectors. It was found to have inadequate escape routes, poorly lit emergency exits and had not reviewed its fire risk assessment. It has been served with an enforcement notice and faces prosecution and a fine if it fails to comply.

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