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Costa objections are already rolling in after new application submitted for Market Place site in Faversham

Plans for a Costa in Faversham town centre are back…but so are the protesters.

Dozens of objections have already been submitted for the coffee chain’s proposal to move into a historic building in Market Place.

The Faversham News exclusively revealed in October that Costa had submitted yet another planning application for a change of use from retail to coffee shop.

Protest against new Costa coffee shop
Protest against new Costa coffee shop

Within a matter of days the application received yet more letters of objection, just like it had when the plans originated in May.

Faversham Town Council recommended the proposal for the former Stead and Simpson shop for refusal but they were withdrawn before it went before Swale Borough Council’s planning committee.

Back with a fresh application, protesters gathered in the Market Place on Saturday to show their opposition.

Gavin McGregor of Plantation Road said: “It would be just another big company parachuting in with deep pockets and a distant head office saying it doesn’t care much about local democracy or local feeling.”

Gavin McGregor pours away a cup of Costa coffee
Gavin McGregor pours away a cup of Costa coffee

Tina Hagger, of Ospringe Road, said: “Giving this application the go-ahead would mean councillors breaking several local planning rules.

“It would make the local economy less diverse by reducing retail floorspace when Costa already has one outlet in the town and there are at least 25 other businesses here selling coffee.

“Local rules say a change of use can only happen if something is being offered that is under-represented in the town. That certainly can’t mean yet another coffee shop, particularly from a company with a presence here already.”

But not everyone thinks the plans should be kicked out and many Faversham people would welcome Costa into the town.

Edward Thomas, of Lower Road, said: “I support this application because the premises has been vacant for too long, it will provide a familiar brand for visitors, will provide an attractive location for young people to socialise, will provide easier access for pushchairs and wheelchairs and will enhance the appearance of the market square.”

Gavin McGregor, Tina Hagger and Gary Miller pour away their Costa
Gavin McGregor, Tina Hagger and Gary Miller pour away their Costa

Diana Gough of Belvedere Road said: “I think it would be good to see this empty shop being used.

“Costa coffee shops are always very well managed and are excellent. It’s a great idea.”

Cllr Trevor Abram had been the only councillor to vote against the recommendation for Costa earlier this year.

He said after the meeting: “People say they want local retailers to trade in this area but in my opinion there is an insufficient variety of shops or indeed sufficient footfall to support them.

“I am not in favour of Costa Coffee per se but equally I do not see the need for any more hairdressers, estate agents, or indeed charity shops in the town and would not like to see this shop in such a prominent place standing empty like the Clinton’s Card shop a few doors away.”

The application will go before Faversham Town Council at their monthly meeting on Monday, December 15.

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