Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 12°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Southwold: Anger over decision to give Costa the green light

10:09 16 August 2012

The shop that will be ttransformed into a Costa

The shop that will be ttransformed into a Costa

© Archant 2012

ANGER spilled onto the streets of Southwold after a national coffee chain was allowed to open in the town centre.

shares

Business owners and townsfolk expressed frustration at the approval of Costa Coffee’s application to open a branch at 70 High Street.

It followed a heated meeting at Lowestoft Town Hall on Tuesday, when the split decision of a Waveney’s development control committee gave the casting vote to chairman, John Groom, who ruled that Costa should not be stopped from opening in the town.

While campaigners vowed to fight the decision - which came less than two months after the council refused the original application - others admitted resignation at the impending arrival of the branch, at the former Fanny & Frank clothing shop.

Tilly’s of Southwold tea room stands almost directly opposite the site, where building work is already under way. Christine Webb, owner of Tilly’s, said: “We’re all very disappointed.

“I’m not particularly ‘anti-Costa’ but we like our independence and the town is already well-served by similar outlets. In 20 years people will still be questioning why this was allowed to happen.

“However, customers have a right to choose and I just hope Costa try to add something to the town and become part of the community.”

The application received hundreds of objections, with more than 300 sent by letter and e-mail in the three weeks after the company announced a second bid to move in.

But Costa has long maintained the increased competition caused by opening a new branch was not a planning issue, and claimed an outlet would complement independent retailers and employ local people.

Guy Mitchell, chairman of Southwold and District Chamber of Trade, added: “I struggle to understand why, when the committee rejected the same application, that this time it was unable to find grounds to turn it down. Nothing had changed. They lacked the strength to stand up against the threat of an appeal.”

Emma Slater, manager at Chapmans newsagents, said: “A lot of people are disappointed, but some think it’s good that an empty shop is being filled in the high street, and that local people will hopefully be getting jobs.

“A few of the younger people are glad to be getting somewhere to sit and socialise.”

Planners at Waveney District Council, in a report recommending the application’s approval, said: “It is not the role of the planning department to restrict competition or to protect existing commercial uses.

“Therefore it is considered that this proposal would not have a detrimental impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre.”

Eliza Allerton, 78, is a regular customer at Squier’s of Southwold tea rooms, in the High Street. Reacting to the decision by Waveney’s development control committee to approve Costa Coffee’s application, she said: “It’s dreadful. It will alter the character of the town and could be very harmful to shops like this one. “We don’t need it, and I hope it will be boycotted by locals and hopefully visitors, if they’re not put off coming.

“The opinions of the public have just been ignored. We’re just trying to protect our little shops and tea rooms.

“I’m not surprised it went through. It would have gone to an appeal anyway.”

Related articles

shares

6 comments

  • i thought that was Frinton in essex the snobbiest town

    Report this comment

    Tinatyping

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

  • There's a pub in Frinton, does that beat a coffee shop in Southwold?

    Report this comment

    JOHN BURLS

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

  • Pompous, arrogant and downright pretentious people of Southwold - the proof of the pudding, so to speak will be if the Coffee house stays the course or fades away like so many shops that you supported, not!

    Report this comment

    Midasi

    Friday, August 17, 2012

  • at last a coffee shop that will be open on sunday after lunch all year its a coffee shop .there is a lot more in southwold to think off buses to the market and stop parking in the high street the roads are for traffic not parking

    Report this comment

    john taylor

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

  • I am, by no means, a fan of these multinational corporate franchises, but this episode in Southwold is absolutely hilarious. I wonder if the good people of this up-market retreat for the London glitterati realise that the press are dubbing them "the snobbiest town in Britain"?

    Report this comment

    Origami Penguin

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

  • I don't understand where all this "alternative provision" is that will be so threatened by this decision. The average, timewarpesque, somewhat twee Southwold teashop is a world away from what Costa offers. (I don't even drink coffee so couldn't care less either way.)

    Report this comment

    Ex-IP17

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Ransomes Jacobsen operations director Simon Rainger addresses staff as the company's last Ransomes Commander mover leaves the production line.

Staff at Ipswich-based turf maintenance machinery maker Ransomes Jacobsen have marked the end of an era, with the last Ransomes Commander mower having rolled off the production line.

Charles Manning on the new patio area at Bears Boutique Bar and Bowling in Star Lane, Ipswich

Businessman Charles Manning is pleased with the way his Bears bowling bar and grill is fitting into the entertainment offer in Ipswich – and with the business community.

The rate of growth in the UK economy rebounded during the second quarter of 2015, but the manufacturing sector continued to struggle, according to official figures.

UK growth bounced back in the second quarter of 2015 as gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.7%, according to official figures.

Barker Gotelee has welcomed Lucy Underwood, conveyancing assistant, Linda Crawford, solicitor, Nicky Sunderland. trust and estate planning practitioner, and Lisa Hobbs, junior secretary.

Ipswich-based law firm Barker Gotelee has welcomed four new employees across its expanding business.

A Ryanair aircraft atStansted Airport.

Budget airline Ryanair today reported a 25% jump in earnings for the first quarter of its new financial year.

Alton Towers in Staffordshire.

Alton Towers owner Merlin expects annual earnings for its theme parks business to drop by as much as £47million this year following last month’s rollercoaster crash.

Artist's impression of how an office development in Sheepen Road, Colchester, could look

A council has managed to secure tenants for a new office development before work has even begun on building it.

Manufacturers in the East of England are in confident mood, according to a new report.

Manufacturers in the East of England are helping to lead the way in exports and business confidence, according to a new report

Tom Gillman of Crafted.

Mediterranean Shipping Company, which has its UK head office in Ipswich, has launched a new global website, designed and built by locally-based digital agency Crafted.

IPRS Group celebration at Wherstead Park, Ipswich

Company celebration is a boost for charities

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages