Crunch meeting will decide fate of Southwold’s Costa Coffee plans

A national chain's fight to open a coffee shop in Southwold will come to a head tonight at a crunch meeting.

Waveney district councillors will make the final decision about Costa Coffee's controversial plans to open a caf� at 70 High Street – formerly the Fanny & Franks clothes shop.

It comes after 572 people lodged objections against the chain amid claims that its proposals could harm the town's 'unique character' and lead to an 'excessive' amount of hot drinks sellers.

But Costa Coffee says its new caf� would create jobs and fill an empty shop during poor economic times.

A development control committee meeting to discuss the proposals will be held at Lowestoft Town Hall from 6pm tonight (Tuesday August 14).

The Southwold and Reydon Society carried out a survey as part of their objection to the plans. They allege that many visitors only come to the Southwold for its 'unique character' and may not visit if Costa opens.

In the society's submission to the council its chairman, Michael Rowan-Robinson, writes: 'The total number of hot or cold drinks served in the summer season per week is approximately 25,000. We therefore argue that the arrival of Costa would represent an excessive cumulative provision of hot drinks on Southwold High Street and that this would detract from the vitality and viability of the High Street.'

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On June 19, Costa Coffee's application was turned down by members of the development control committee who went against their officers' recommendations.

Since then, Costa Coffee have resubmitted their plans and lodged an appeal against the committee's decision. Meanwhile, posters have been stuck up in Southwold calling for the plans to be thrown out, and to protect local businesses.

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