March 13 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, February 21, 2013
A COFFEE chain has opened its controversial store in Southwold.
Costa Coffee officially opened its High Street shop on Wednesday but was open for several hours on Tuesday as staff completed last minute preparations and handed out free coffee vouchers in the town.
The town council and more than 600 people objected to the company’s plans to take over the former Fanny & Frank clothes shop amid concerns it could harm the town’s “unique character”.
But despite the opposition, its plans were given the go-ahead by Waveney District Council’s development control committee in August.
Store manager Glenn Crane, who previously managed the Costa in Tesco, Beccles, said the shop had been busy since opening at 7am yesterday morning.
“We had workmen in at 7.10am wanting coffee,” he said. “We are surprised at how busy it has been.”
There was much speculation on social networking site Twitter in the build up to the low-key opening with opinion split among social media users.
And Guy Mitchell, chairman of Southwold Chamber of Trade, urged people to keep supporting local independent businesses now that Costa Coffee had opened.
Mr Mitchell added: “With over 80% of businesses being local independents, we’d encourage people to value the fact that Southwold offers something a little different.”