Coffee chain Costa has been given permission to open a store in Bingham despite more than 1,000 people signing a petition against the plan and opposition from the town council.
The coffee shop will open at 2 Eaton Place, which is currently an empty unit. The application was made by Coffee Lovers Ltd which will run the business as a franchisee of Costa.
Sham Ramparia, who will run the store, said it would benefit the town but the town council opposed the planning application for change of use from retail unit to a cafe.
Bingham Mayor Tracey Kerry said the town council was disappointed it was losing another retail unit. Mrs Kerry said: “I felt it was a shame to lose this retail unit and put another coffee house in the town. It would be nice to see some other businesses on the retail side coming into town.”
The owners of another coffee shop, the Picture Cafe, in Market Place, organised a petition which attracted more than 1,500 signatures opposed to the Costa plan. Owners Julia and Paul Williams collected about 900 signatures at the cafe and a further 200 on a web-based petition. On the web, they said: “Please help local businesses to continue to serve our community and sign this petition to stop an ‘impersonal and faceless’ coffee chain destroying the localness of Bingham.”
Dan Sharp, who signed the petition, said: “Bingham is already well served by independent businesses which give back more to the community than a multi-national high street operator would. Also, the enabling of another major name to open is another step toward the town’s retail/service sector being homogenised just like the majority of high streets in the country - faceless, with stores not tailoring their offering to the needs of local customers. Bingham’s charm is in its individuality”
A counter petition in favour of Costa was set up by Michael Ball. It collected 146 signatures. Mr Ball said: “For those saying ‘not in my backyard’, take a second to think about all of the fast food outlets and beauty salons that have opened in the town without so much of a murmur. The town needs some successful ‘big business’ to help drive competition. They’ll open early to cater to the commuters and sell a cup of coffee at a price that is consistent with the rest of Costa Coffee, therefore not deliberately undercutting the competition.”
The layout plans show a seating area, counter and wc on the ground floor with a seating area, wc and store on the first floor, and an outdoor seating area. But the applicant has said the first floor would only be used if enough customers started using the store. The business will employ three full-time and five part-time employees and the opening hours will be 7am to 6pm on Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm on Saturday and 9am to 4pm on Sunday and Bank Holidays.