Trouble brewing over new coffee shop

PUBLISHED: 12:56 16 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:04 11 May 2010

TRADERS are joining together to oppose the opening of a new coffee shop. Costa Coffee wants to transform the old Royston toy shop, in the High Street, into a coffee shop. This will involve the construction of an extension on the ground floor. The first

TRADERS are joining together to oppose the opening of a new coffee shop.

Costa Coffee wants to transform the old Royston toy shop, in the High Street, into a coffee shop.

This will involve the construction of an extension on the ground floor.

The first and second floors of the building would be turned into accommodation under the plans, which have been submitted to North Herts District Council and are currently at the consultation stage.

However, Clive Porter, of John Impey Way, Melbourn, says he is working with owners of existing coffee shops in the town to oppose the application

Mr Porter said: "We already have plenty of coffee shops in Royston. We need some variety otherwise people won't come into the town to shop."

One of those who says he would be affected by the arrival of Costa is Yujel Mehmed, who owns Mello in Angel Pavement.

He has already written to the district council to object to the plans.

"Costa Coffee is obviously a very high profile company, so in theory it would be great to have them coming into the town," he said.

"But there are only so many customers out there. Royston is a small place, and we need some other shops too."

Mr Mehmed believes some existing shops could go to the wall if Costa's application is allowed to proceed.

He said: "It's all very well getting another place open on the High Street, but we might end up with two or three additional empty shops because people will lose trade.

"That wouldn't be good for Royston."

The district council has so far received two letters against the plan, although it has gained the support of Royston Town Council's planning committee, which gave the scheme the thumbs up at a meeting last week.

In a statement, the franchise holder for the new coffee shop said: "I have done a lot of work with the local council and local retailers in Royston and have heard of no objections whatsoever.

"Everyone I have spoken to is really supportive of a new Costa especially as there are five or six empty units currently in the area.

"Other examples of Costa entering towns have revealed that Costa actually compliments independent retailers whilst offering a wider range of choice and experience. Research has revealed that the opening of a Costa Coffee shop often draws increased footfall into retail spaces, significantly more than any other type of retailer.

"This therefore brings substantial benefits to surrounding businesses, which is especially important in the current retail climate," he said.

A final decision could be made by the district council's planning committee at its meeting on July 30.

The toy shop site has been empty since previous owner Doug Drake retired, and closed the store in August 2007.

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