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Monday, 22 December 2014

Fear coffee shop is wrong ‘blend’

CONTROVERSIAL plans to bring a national coffee shop chain to Ulverston could be held up by opposition from town councillors.

The issue divided council members, who narrowly voted to oppose the planning application on Monday.

An application to turn the former Halifax building in Market Street into a coffee shop was sent to South Lakeland District Council in July.

Purple World, a franchisee for Costa that has already opened nine of the stores in and around Cumbria, was expecting a response from SLDC on Friday.

But the council said no decision is expected this week and it is likely that if the matter goes before the full planning committee its response could be delayed further.

A town council vote was tied, with five councillors in favour and five against, meaning – in the absence of town mayor Brenda Marr – deputy mayor Judith Pickthall cast the deciding vote.

Arguing against the plans, councillor Jane Harris said: “Costa is a national chain which, in my view, undermines the economy in Ulverston.

“It sources from outside the area and will steal business from local coffee shops.

“We want people to use Ulverston for shopping – we already have plenty of coffee shops.”

She also expressed fears that allowing one national chain into the town could set a dangerous precedent for future planning applications.

However, in response, councillor Pat Jones said the town already has an American chain in Mr Simms sweet shop, which recently opened in Market Street.

She said: “Having let Mr Simms in, I think we have opened the gates. We do not have a leg to stand on.”

Councillor Norman Bishop-Rowe said that he sympathised with Cllr Harris’ comments but saw nothing in the plans that went against planning regulations, meaning the council has no grounds on which to base its objection.

Nobody from Purple World was available for comment yesterday.

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