Costa abandons Totnes plans over 'strength of feeling' against brands
TOTNES has praised 'caring Costa' for abandoning plans for a coffee shop in town.
South Hams District Council had already approved plans by Costa Coffee to open in Fore Street, Totnes.
But after talks with Totnes MP Dr Sarah Wollaston and Mayor Pruw Boswell, the chain has decided to give up on the store.
Cllr Boswell said: "We are delighted, absolutely euphoric.
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"They came and we talked and they realised that Totnes was not the right place for Costa.
"I think it is very brave of them. They are clearly a company with ethics and they listened to our point of view.
"They are a company who care."
In a letter co-signed with the Mayor and the MP, Chris Rogers, managing director of Costa, said the company had 'recognised the strength of feeling against national brands in the town'.
He said that Totnes had a long and proud history of independent retail and the company had taken into account the 'specific circumstances of Totnes'.
Andy Garner, executive member of the town Chamber of Commerce, said that it was keen to strike a balance between independent and national retailers.
He said: "Costa has shown a great respect for the feeling in the town and the wider community so all power to them. We want to say thank you for seeing the depth of feeling in Totnes and taking that on board."
Campaign group No To Costa spent three months petitioning against the planned coffee shop, which was due to take one of the larger retail spaces in the town. It collected more than 5,000 signatures.
A message posted by campaigners on the group website said: "We are absolutely delighted to hear of their decision to withdraw from Totnes. We are impressed Costa has taken the time to understand our town, its economy and the 5,700 people who signed the petition asking Costa to reconsider."
Costa currently has 19 stores in Devon and employs nearly 200 people as well as sourcing local products.