Row over cafe’s move to historic town

A NATIONAL cafe chain was last night warned to expect opposition if it breaks planning law and pushes ahead with its bid to move into an historic Suffolk market town.

It is understood that Caff� Nero is hoping to open up at a premises in the Thoroughfare, Woodbridge, formerly occupied by Wine Rack.

However, the chain has not yet applied for the required planning permission. The premises is currently designated for retail use only.

A spokesman for Caff� Nero was unavailable for comment last night but Suffolk Coastal District Council said it was aware the chain intended to open a cafe in the building.

The news has generated considerable concern in Woodbridge and planning bosses are being urged to ensure the move is stopped.

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Town centre manager Marion Wells said: “Banners have gone up saying that Caff� Nero is opening and there have been advertisements for staff.

“However, they don’t have the correct planning permission. This area of the Thoroughfare is specifically designated for retail and any application should be refused.

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“There is some upset in the town because others have tried in the past to open a cafe there and have been told ‘no’.

“It would not be something we would like to see. We would prefer it to be kept as a retail unit. We have a lot of cafes in Woodbridge already.

“Our retail outlets are what make the town centre special. We have lots of independent little stores that attract a large number of visitors. We don’t want another cafe there like any old town.”

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal District Council confirmed it was looking into the situation.

“We are aware that Caff� Nero intends to open a branch in Woodbridge’s Thoroughfare,” he said.

“The lawful use of this property is a retail shop and planning permission would be required for its use as a caf�. We are in communication with Caff� Nero and have advised them that they would be in breach of planning control if they open as a caf� without first obtaining planning permission.

“They are aware that we could take action to require any unauthorised use to stop if they choose to ignore planning requirements and start trading.

“It is long established planning policy that this part of the Thoroughfare should be for retail shop use at ground-floor level. If Caff� Nero had contacted our planners first, they would have been aware of this and probably been advised where it would be appropriate for them to go.”

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