A PETITION signed by 150 people against a new Costa Coffee shop in Henley-in-Arden was handed in to Stratford District Council this week.
Led by Cindy Brittan, from Henley Ice Cream Parlour, the campaigners hope their actions will force Costa to abandon plans to move in to the empty HSBC bank on High Street.
Cindy, who raised the petition in three days, reckons a new Costa will destroy the town’s famous ice-cream store, which has been on the High Street since 1934.
She said: “What a disaster this would be for the many small independent food and drink outlets already available in Henley, most of whom already find it difficult to keep going.”
Kathy and Mike Fellows, who live in High Street, said: “We have more than enough outlets selling coffee and we strongly support the independent traders. The character of the town is being slowly destroyed. A Costa would be another nail in the coffin.”
Costa, which has 1,400 outlets in the UK, made national headlines last year when they were forced to abandon similar plans for an outlet in the Devon town of Totnes after locals ferociously campaigned against it.
The campaigners in Henley are hoping the huge company will rethink their plans again. However, in Devon a huge petition of 5,750 signatures was raised, and even then driving Costa away was not what everybody wanted. In Henley, Rachel Gray, owner of fashion boutique Studio 34, said she would love a Costa in town. It is unlikely she is the only one.
And although several campaigners say there is not enough parking in Henley for a new shop, a new 100-space car park is being built at the northern entrance of town.
Stratford District Council is due to make a decision on the application next month.
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