Costa Coffee opens its controversial Southwold store
- Credit: Picture: Nick Butcher
A national coffee chain has opened its controversial store in Southwold town centre.
Costa Coffee officially opened its High Street shop yesterday (Wednesday) but was open for several hours on Tuesday while staff completed last minute preparations and handed out free coffee vouchers around the town.
The town council and more than 600 people objected to the company's plans to take over the former Fanny & Frank clothes shop amid concerns it could harm the town's 'unique character'.
But despite the opposition, its plans were given the go-ahead by Waveney District Council's development control committee in August.
Store manager Glenn Crane, who previously managed the Costa Coffee outlet in Tesco, Beccles, said the shop had been busy since opening at 7am yesterday morning.
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'We had workmen in at 7.10am wanting coffee,' he said. 'We are surprised at how busy it has been.'
There was much speculation on social networking site Twitter in the build up to the low key opening with opinion split amongst social media users.
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And Guy Mitchell, chairman of Southwold Chamber of Trade, urged people to keep supporting local independent businesses now that Costa Coffee had opened. He added: 'With over 80pc of businesses being local independents, we'd encourage people to value the fact that Southwold offers something a little different.'