National coffee chain Costa’s recent announcement that they’ll be opening a new 93-seat shop in town hasn’t been welcomed by other businesses in the town who fear what this might mean for their own local restaurants and coffee shops. President of Cromer Chamber of Trade and Business, Gary Dickenson has spoken out and vows to do whatever he can to protect the town’s high street. He is already inviting those whose businesses are likely to be affected to come together to discuss a way forward.
This announcement comes in the wake of concerns which were raised last year regarding the effect that national chains on local businesses if they were allowed to come to north Norfolk. Mr Dickenson is also a Cromer Town Council member and he stated that the town was extremely proud of the independent restaurants and coffee shops in the town which were run by individuals and their families which were working extremely hard and it was these people’s work that had made Cromer what it is. He added that these business brought consumers a unique customer service along with unique products, local knowledge and products that had been locally sourced thus ensuring that the money circulated and stayed within the town. He argued that Costa wasn’t able to deliver this type of service and the town would lose profits despite Costa not bringing anything that the town didn’t already have.
Dickenson emphasised that Cromer wasn’t going to tolerate the rough tactics that large corporations have been known to use to take over independent shops and that the will of the owners, businesses and the rest of the community shouldn’t be underestimated on this issue.
Last year, Portess and Richardson, the architects and surveyors based in Peterborough were given permission for a change of use to change A1 shops and businesses to A3 restaurants and cafes. This was part of an application that was being made on behalf of Monument Group Limited for 61-63 Church Street. The applicant’s plan is to turn the two outlets currently at the location into one, arguing that a retail unit of that size would bring more jobs to the town.
According to Dickenson, people have been speculating for a while on who was coming to occupy 61-63 Church Street and the revelation that it would be Costa and the fact that the outlet is going to be of such a large size makes him and others in the area uncomfortable.