Poll: Costa Coffee gets the green light in Southwold

MORE than 100 people were ordered to leave a council meeting after a decision to allow a national coffee chain to open in Southwold was greeted with fury.

Members of the public in Lowestoft Town Hall rounded on councillors, reducing one to tears, after consent was given to Costa Coffee’s plans for a branch at 70 High Street.

Boiling point was reached after a Waveney District Council development control committee was split over a proposal to refuse the application, with six councillors voting against, six voting in favour and one, councillor Patricia Flegg, choosing to abstain.

The ruling decision was left in the hands of committee chairman, councillor John Groom, who ruled that Costa Coffee should not be stopped from opening in the town.

However, disorder quickly ensued when a new proposal to approve the plans was pushed through after Mrs Flegg voted in favour of the coffee shop opening – with seven councillors in favour and six against.

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The meeting was quickly adjourned while the public gallery was cleared as people rose from their seats and shouted at councillors, including Mrs Flegg who left the room in tears.

Campaigners vowed to fight the council’s decision, which comes less than two months since they refused the same application on the grounds that it could harm the town’s “unique character”.

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Speaking after the meeting, the mayor of Southwold Michael Ladd said: “We are all very disappointed that this has been approved especially after the initial recommendation two months ago was refused, and we can see no change to the resubmitted application.

“But Southwold will survive. We have survived harder things in the past.”

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