A government planning inspector has allowed Starbucks to open a branch in a Brighton street despite opposition from councillors and a protest campaign by residents.
Meanwhile the Edinburgh branch in the Royal Mile is facing police opposition to its proposal to open 24 hours throughout the Festival in August. The police claim the extended opening hours could lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour. Starbucks lost the battle to extend its opening hours last year and is predicted to lose again.
In Brighton the City Council refused permission last May for the company to change a former shop in St James’s Street into a cafe. Despite that Starbucks went on trading while waiting for an appeal date, angering local residents, shoppers and planners.
The company subsequently appealed against the decision and following a planning enquiry in early June, the Planning Inspectorate has found in Starbuck’s favour.
The decision is seen locally as a blow to those campaigning against so-called ‘clone towns’ with high streets dominated by big-name businesses. Brighton is fiercely proud of its large independent retail sector in areas like The Lanes, North Laine and Kemptown, where Starbucks now has permission to operate.
Chair of the city council’s planning committee Cllr Lynda Hyde said, “We’re massively disappointed. We’ve used every weapon available to us to try to stop this.
“We were arguing this went against our policies designed to protect our retailers and maintain the character of the street.
“We felt Starbucks’ arrival would bring an over-concentration of cafes in that area but the government inspector rejected that view.
“Local people will understandably be angry and upset that the views of the locally-elected council have been overruled. We’re still determined to implement policies to protect the vitality and viability of our local shopping streets.”
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