Southwold: Coffee chain Costa dashes campaigners’ hopes it will drop plans to open in the town
Costa Coffee remains defiant over its controversial plans for a new caf� in Southwold, just days after announcing its withdrawal from another market town.
In a snub to campaigners, the national chain confirmed it was going ahead with its plan to open at 70 High Street – despite its decision to pull out of Totnes, in south Devon, amid fierce opposition.
People who oppose the caf� in Southwold had been heartened by the news from Totnes and hoped it would encourage Costa Coffee to abandon its proposals for the High Street.
But the company dashed any hopes that it might do the same thing in north Suffolk – saying the situation in Southwold was totally different from that in Totnes. A spokesman for Costa Coffee said: “We made the decision not to open in Totnes based upon a specific set of circumstances unique to the town. We don’t believe these circumstances are replicated in Southwold.”
Costa Coffee managing director Chris Rogers announced last week the company would be scrapping its plans for a new caf� in Totnes.
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On Tuesday evening, Southwold mayor Michael Ladd, revealed at a town council meeting that he had written to Mr Rogers urging him to reconsider the company’s plans for the town.
Since then, Costa Coffee has defended its position on Southwold, despite receiving 640 letters opposing their initial plans.
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Secretary of the Southwold and Reydon Society, John Perkins, has sent an invitation to Mr Rogers to come to meet people in Southwold so he can hear their concerns.
He said: “We have written with a matter of urgency, saying ‘will you come and meet us and hear what we have to say?’ before you make your mind up.”
He added: “Chris Rogers did reveal when talking about Totnes that he had met with them.”
Meanwhile, Guy Mitchell, chairman of Southwold and District Chamber of Trade, said he failed to see a difference between the two towns.
He said: “We are surprised they do not see there is no difference between Southwold and Totnes.
“I guess we hope they take a closer and more considered look at the situation here. If they did look closely at Southwold, and if they came to visit, they would find it identical.”