Rain

Rain

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 5°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

Stage 5 of the Womens Tour passes through Onehouse on their way to Bury St Edmunds last year

Schoolchildren will also be involved in an evening of activities in Bury St Edmunds ahead of the start of a major women’s cycling event.

Paul Rous, of Bruisyard Hall, has launched a tech startup venture with Mark Pearson

A Suffolk entrepreneur has teamed up with a top technology investor, who made millions from a website he created with just £300, to help finance new ideas.

Cloud telecoms company X-on has launched Cuube, a new online communications services platform.

Cloud telecoms company X-on, based at the Framlingham Technology Centre, has launched Cuube, a new online communications services platform.

Jeremy Goulding, front, left, chief executive of Wheatley, is congratulated by Innovatioin Martlesham chair Ian Buxton on winning the first Innovationi Martlesham competition. Also pictured, from left, are Paul O'Brien of BT, Jane Bromley of Wheatley, Mike Ward of Wheatley and Mohamed Abdel-Maguid from University Campus Suffolk.

Software company Wheatley has been named winner of a new competition staged by Innovation Martlesham, the cluster of hi-tech companies based at BT’s Adastral Park research site, near Ipswich.

Total unemployment in the UK has reached a near seven year low, official figures showed today.
Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Unemployment in the UK has continued to fall and a record 31million people are in now work, according to the final labour market figures before the General Election.

The Nestle Purina plant in Sudbury.

KitKat, Nescafe and Shredded Wheat maker Nestlé said today that first quarter sales had been boosted by an earlier Easter, but with growth dented by currency changes after the Swiss central bank’s shock decision to lift a cap on the franc.

The B&Q store on the North Quay Retail Park in Lowestoft which is closing in January 2016. Picture: James Bass

DIY chain B&Q has announced its Lowestoft store will close at the start of next year, with reportedly 40 jobs being lost.

Suffolk cider and vinegar maker Aspall was named Business of the Year at last year's EADT Business Awards.  From left, Tom McGarry of EDF Energy, Barry Chevallier Guild of Aspall and Sarah Howard,  of SuffolkChamber.  	
Picture: Lucy Taylor

There is now less than a week to go to enter the 2015 East Anglian Daily Times Business Awards.

The team at Ipswich-based software company IJYI.

A start-up software business in Suffolk has secured a place on a Government panel allowing it to bid for the delivery of cloud technology services across the public sector.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages