Published: August 9, 2012
Burnham-On-Sea traders fear new Costa Coffee store will hit trade

Costa Coffee's plans to open a new store in Burnham-On-Sea have raised concerns among traders in the town this week, with some calling for more council control over the number of food firms in the town.

As we reported here, South West Coffee Ltd has submitted a proposal to open a Costa Coffee franchise in place of the former Sanders greengrocers in the High Street, which shut last October.

Sedgemoor District Council is considering whether to allow the application for the new Costa store, which would be open from 6.30am - 8pm from this autumn.

But several food retailers in Burnham are concerned that the new shop will hit trade and they want more council controls over new food stores.

Mike Bond, who runs Burnham's Subway franchise and the Esplanade Fish Bar, told "It seems Burnham is becoming a town full of cafes and it is surprising the council allows it - isn't it time we had more retail shops?"

"Costa will take a slice of the trade and make life harder for existing businesses. I feel traders should consider stopping payment of Sedgemoor District Council's extornionate business rates until they come to us and hear our concerns. Enough is enough."

Phil Rendall, who runs Milkshakes n More in Abingdon Street, agrees: "There are a finite amount of coffee businesses that a town of this size can support. All Costa will do is reduce the overall trade per outlet, not increase business in Burnham. I hope the council will step back and take a sensible judgement call on the number of cafes and think about the small retailers in the town."

Oktay Akar, who runs BOS Cafe and Mondo Pizza on The High Street, told "Big companies like Costa will take away trade from the small businesses. I think some cafes in Burnham may well close if Costa does come here. I feel the council should look at this very carefully."

And the owner of The Inn Plaice fish and chip shop in Cross Street agrees. "I'm not happy about the number of food retailers in Burnham - it just keeps growing with no thought about the consequences for existing traders. Far more controls should be in place."

But Sylvia Poole at The Front Parlour cafe on the town's seafront told us: "I actually don't think Costa will have much of an impact in Burnham and don't see it as a threat. People here simply won't pay Costa prices."

Meanwhile, South West Coffee Ltd's planning application to Sedgemoor District Council states that coffee shops perform a "vital role within modern day shopping frontages" and it also cites research which it says shows that coffee shops attract customers to other local businesses.


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