A south-coast village is fighting back against the planned presence of a Costa Coffee outlet.
Cricket fans and pub quiz aficionados may know that the village of Stubbington was the first place in Hampshire to host a cricket game – the match pitted a team of husbands against a team of single men for those interested – but the south-coast locality has hit the headlines as residents and traders have signed a petition to keep Costa out.
It might costa them a lot.
The villagers fear that the arrival of the national chain would be of the detriment to their high-street and have a negative impact on their businesses.
Sharon Baker, a Stubbington native, doesn’t want the village to replicate other establishments. “This is a village and we want to keep it that way. I’ve been here eight years and I love it – it’s a real community” she told the local Portsmouth-based press.
The 53-year-old runs a nearby bakery.
The plot earmarked for Costa does not technically exist at the moment. The Co-operative supermarket have put in a planning application to split an empty premise into two, with the smaller unit expected to be taken up by the coffee chain.
A spokeswoman for Costa confirmed that they did have a site under offer in the village. “We are evaluating opportunities in Stubbington,” she said. “[Costa] work closely with planning departments across the country to open new stores for the benefit of their local communities, creating new jobs and providing attractive and popular social meeting places”
Even local politicians have joined in. County councillor Christopher Wood stated he was ‘absolutely disgusted by this proposal’ and that he would fight against it.
“Traders in the village will be ruined…It will change the village beyond recognition, and not in a good way”
Eagle-eyed commentators have noted that plenty of national chains are already present in Stubbington leading to assumptions that the ‘townification’ of the village could well be façade and the real issue: some people don’t want to the competition.
Though, of course, it would be naïve to jump to that conclusion and see it as the sole reason for opposing the proposal.
With huge chains present up and down the country, perhaps we should be applauding a little piece of Hampshire for wanting to keep their coffee culture local. After all, it’s something that many people overlook on a daily basis.
What do you think?