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Will coffee shop replace bank in Totnes?

Monday, 17 December 2018 21:40

By Daniel Clark, local democracy reporter, and Radio Exe News

Will coffee shop replace bank in Totnes?

Town that said no to Costa now asked to approve Coffee#1

Totnes successfully fought off Costa Coffee – but now another coffee shop chain wants to open in the town.

In 2012, several thousand people in the town signed a petition against Costa and pledged to boycott the new branch if it opened, warning that Totnes risked become a “clone town”. Costa successfully achieved planning permission for a store in Fore Street, but in the face of opposition, withdrew their plans. But now chain Coffee#1, which has 91 outlets across the country, want to move into the High Street.

It's submitted plans to South Hams District Council to convert the former Barclays Bank, which closed in June, into a coffee shop. The plans involve advertisement consent for two Coffee#1 signs and for listed building consent for external shopfront and internal alterations to the store.

A statement with the planning application says: “Coffee#1 aims to achieve an appropriate design solution that adds value not only to the existing building but its surroundings. Each store benefits from being fitted out to the highest standards using premium materials whilst Coffee#1 also seeks to become fully integrated with the local community.”

The application references the Costa Coffee application and that plans were approved, but the property was not occupied for ‘non-planning related reasons’. It adds: “Many of the objections to Costa Coffee’s application related to the fact that Costa Coffee was the application, and that as a result, the town’s local economy would suffer and anti-social behaviour would be present. 

“However, the officer was clear in his report that these objections are not a material considerations and therefore are afforded little to no weight in the decision making process. While it is acknowledged that Totnes has many independent businesses, there are high street and chain retailers present within the central shopping area. These objections were specific to Costa Coffee being a national company with external shareholders resulting in money being taken away from the local area. 

“It is evident that South Hams District Council have adopted a positive approach to the change of use in the recent past. This includes granting planning consent to Costa Coffee submission at 11 Fore Street. In this instance, the case officer was clear in his conclusion that the introduction of such a use would not undermine the vitality or viability of the local high street.

The coffee shop would employ four full-time and six part-time staff, with approximately 104 internal and 12 external covers.

Alterations to the shop front are described as minor and sensitively designed to have no adverse impact on the historic or visual character and significance of the listed building.


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