Southwold says no to Costa, local council says yes

Southwold notocosta

Southwold notocosta

Dear twitter. Despite all the support objecting to Costa Coffee in Southwold, their application was passed tonight. — Emma Freud

Once again we have a local council sticking two fingers up to local residents and acting in the interest of Big Business, not the locality, not the local economy.

Advice from useless planning officials: Councillors must rubber-stamp application as will cost the Council money if it goes to appeal.

It only costs money if you lose. You only lose because the planning officials are not up to the job. They are capable of deciding where a garden shed may be sited, and often not that, anything else is way beyond their pay grade and competence.

Residents of Southwold said they did not want a Costa Coffee Shop in their town. A previous application was refused on the grounds that it could harm the town’s “unique character”. If that was true before, what has changed?

There may be grounds for a Judicial Review, though these are granted not on the merits or otherwise of the application but on whether or not correct procedures are followed.

Questions have to be raised against the planning officials who pushed on behalf of Costa. They claimed it would not detrimentally affect the “vitality and viability” of the town centre.

This is simply not true. Clone shops, the same in every town centre up and down the country are destroying our towns, turning them into clone towns. Those towns and town centres that are vibrant and full of vitality are those which lack clone shops, North Laines in Brighton is a good example. One of the pleasures of a day trip to Brighton is North Laines, three streets with individual quirky shops. Clone shops are draining money out of an area, thus are a detriment to the vitality and viability of an area. A Costa Coffee Shop is not going to draw people in when you can drink their disgusting coffee anywhere in the country.

Shame on those councillors who failed to act on behalf of local people, on behalf of the local economy. The very people they are elected to serve.

One pathetic councillor left in tears after being heckled. She has only herself to blame.

The public gallery was then cleared. The public should have refused to leave, and only left if the police were called and asked them to leave. The Town Hall belongs to the people.

What we have seen is a repeat of what happened in Bristol and Totnes: Costa like a bunch of corporate thugs muscling their way into a town where they are not wanted and lily-livered councillors kowtowing to Costa.

The good folk of Southwold now need to organise a boycott of Costa.

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