Hundreds of people have signed a petition opposing plans for coffee giant Costa to open in historic Rochester.
In less than 24 hours, more than 400 people had signed the document calling on Medway Council to refuse planning permission.
It was started by Rochester resident Tony Scudder after he read about the proposal in the Medway Messenger.
Tony Scudder outside Slinders Florist in Rochester High Street
The chain submitted an application to the council to move into the current premises of Slinders Florist, close to the castle and cathedral, last month.
Mr Scudder, 41, said: “The effect Costa Coffee will have on the community and the unique nature of Rochester High Street will be disastrous for the unique and character-full coffee shops and tea rooms already run by and serving local people and the seasonal tourist trade.
“Rochester High Street already has a great coffee cafe culture that is independent and well-supported by the local community and the tourist trade, and allowing a multi-million chain like Costa onto the High Street will disastrously affect local business and livelihoods.”
The petition spread quickly across the internet and the next day, Mr Scudder was being recognised for it.
“On Friday I picked up a parcel from the post office and the lady recognised my name and said ‘you’re the petition man, aren’t you’ – I was gobsmacked,” he added.
Although the High Street has dozens of outlets selling coffee, this would be the first major chain to move in.
A second petition has also been started on the council’s e-petition website, which has another 91 signatures.
Mr Scudder is calling on people to send their views on the plan to Medway Council by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org citing Planning Application MC/13/2864.
- To sign the petitions visit https://www.change.org/petitions/medway-council-refuse-to-allow-costa-coffee-to-open-on-rochester-high-street and http://democracy.medway.gov.uk and click ‘petitions’