'Costa will kill my café' claims manager of Barnstaple's train station café
THE manager of the Station Café, at Barnstaple railway station, says plans for a Costa Coffee nearby seem designed purely to put pressure on his business.
Mike Day says the plans, which were submitted to North Devon Council a month ago, will have a big impact on his business if they are approved.
If approved the plans will see a branch of Costa open in the former Calor Gas showroom on Barnstaple's Seven Brethren industrial estate, just a few hundred yards from the railway station. Mr Day says that seems unfair.
He said: "There isn't enough trade for two cafes. I think they will be targeting our customers and I suspect they want the station house building.
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"The application just doesn't make sense. One of the justifications given is it will bring a redundant building back into use – but they will only be using 10 per cent of it."
He fears another branch of Costa in the town – there is already one on Barnstaple High Street – would kill local business.
He said: "Companies like Costa can go in anywhere. They are worse than supermarkets because at least supermarkets need a large plot of land and development.
"All the money they make is sucked out of the area. We pay local people and spend money with local businesses."
Costa said it did not think its new premises, which it hopes to open next month, will be a threat to any existing local traders.
A spokesman for the company said: "We honestly do not think anyone should see Costa as a threat to independent businesses.
"Coffee shops are popular meeting hubs for people and bring substantial benefits to surrounding businesses, bringing people into town centres and spending money in the local area.
"We think people like to have a choice.
"Our offering is very different to local independent coffee shops and we believe that people can and will use both, depending on their needs."
Mr Day has objected to the plans, as have more than 70 other people. "People's reactions have been interesting," he said.
"Even people who have never used us before have been coming in to ask us how they can object."
A petition of around 200 signatures against the plan has also been collected.
The plan is still open to consultation at www.northdevon. gov.uk