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Rochester's Costa coffee shop has been delayed by planning problems

By Nicola Jordan

Coffee giant Costa’s proposed move to historic Rochester High Street has been held up by planning hitches.

The chain plans to take over prominent premises, which are currently occupied by Slinders Florist, close to the castle and cathedral.

Slinders Florists, High Street, Rochester
Slinders Florists, High Street, Rochester

But the building is Grade 2 listed and it is understood that there may be problems approving some of the internal changes the company has requested,

A Costa spokesman said: “I can confirm that there is no definitive opening date.

“We have submitted a planning permission to Medway Council for alterations. However, as this is a listed building there is a delay in getting things signed off.”

Costa’s decision to open in Rochester sparked anger among some traders and residents, who claimed it was not in keeping with the historic character of the town.

Despite a paper petition with 165 signatures and two online petitions totalling 955 signatures, councillors approved the proposal at the end of January – but there had been no word since then on when the company might move in.

Costa already has branches in Chatham High Street, Rainham High Street and Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre.

There are also plans to open a Costa in the new Rochester railway station when it opens at the end of next year.

Work taking place on the new Rochester station
Work taking place on the new Rochester station

Among the objectors is Terry Morgan, who owns Tiny Tim’s Tea Shop a few doors away. He said: “There are too many tea and coffee shops in the High Street and it’s likely I may go out of business.

“Also, it’s not in keeping with Rochester. It’s a Grade 2 listed building and any changes should not be permitted. That should be the end of the story.”

But Kevan Middleton, owner of the Deaf Cat cafe in the High Street, has said: “I like the fact that there are bigger names coming to the High Street. You have to take what comes – it makes everyone try a bit harder.

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