PLANS for a Costa Coffee in Bakewell have been refused by the Peak District National Park Authority amid concerns that the establishment would harm the town’s character and put jobs at risk.
However, with an appeal already pending, disgruntled residents, retailers and cafe owners could still have a lengthy battle on their hands.
The proposal to convert the former Bennetts store on King Street, Bakewell, into a 54 seater coffee shop was made on May 2 and immediately generated a negative response from business owners and residents across the town.
A a public campaign to oppose the application was instantly launched and 51 rejections had been received by the closing date of July 8.
Speaking at the planning meeting – which was held on Friday 14 July – cafe owner Philip Redden said: “A new 54 seater coffee shop is far in excess of the town’s needs.
“It will be the catalyst for more closures and will inevitably result in more people claiming benefits.”
He added that Costa Coffee has a very loyal customer following who would be more likely to choose familiarity rather than ‘risking an individual cafe’.
A representative for Costa Coffee, Mr. Williams, made an appearance at the meeting to defend the application amid much criticism from the public gallery.
He explained that planning system is not ‘set up to discriminate against big companies’ and argued that the ‘character of Bakewell will not be affected’ by the proposed coffee shop.
He also said that while Costa Coffee had no policy for using local produce, they would buy milk from nearby suppliers and would employ eight people from the area.
Resident Nigel Johns said: “This proposal is not in Bakewell’s best interest and an overwhelming amount of people do not want it.”