Campaign to stop coffee giant opening in town

A WESTON trader is leading a campaign to thwart Costa Coffee’s plans to open another branch in the town.

Clare Morris, owner of Coco Browns, believes the caf� giant’s bid to convert part of a prime retail site on High Street could sound the death knell for many independent businesses.

Costa Coffee, which already has a branch in the Sovereign Shopping Centre, has submitted a planning application to North Somerset Council to split Burton menswear in two and change one half from retail use into a coffee shop.

Clare, owner of the Regent Street caf� for six years, has collected nearly 60 signatures and handed a petition to the council on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old, who has set up a Facebook group to encourage people to support local businesses, told the Mercury: “Costa Coffee can afford to take a loss during the winter whereas we are struggling to keep our heads above water.

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“In the summer we have to make enough money to survive for the whole year because there are so few customers in the winter – and it will take away our business.”

Clare, of Spring Hill in Worle, said she is concerned that the coffee chain will take money from the town without pumping any cash back into the economy through sourcing local food.

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She added: “There are coffee shops dotted around the High Street and we don’t need anymore.

“I’m a Weston resident too and I think many of us feel we are lacking in retail shops which would bring more business to the town.”

As well as the petition handed in by Clare, more than 50 people have also sent letters of objection to the council.

Campaigners Mike Bell and Clare Kingsbury-Bell are supporting the objectors and have also been fighting for more retail businesses to open outlets in the town.

Clare said: “The last thing we need is a company which is going to threaten our high quality, independent, small businesses.”

Under planning laws, local authorities can not take into consideration the impact businesses may have on others when considering an application – but they can refuse them on the grounds that there are too many retail or coffee shop units in a particular area.

North Somerset Council will be making a decision on Costa Coffee’s plans under delegated powers by March 25.

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