So, after several months of action, the NoToCosta campaign attended the SHDC (South Hams District Council) planning meeting and was disappointed to watch them vote for approval for change of use from retail to mixed retail and catering at the old Greenlife shop on Fore Street.
The Totnes Town Council recommended refusal and Robert Vint and Alan Gorman pitched fantastic arguments as to why, from a planning point of view, the application should be turned down. The 17 non-Totnes councillors decided that there wasn’t enough material planning reasons to take that decision and despite 100 people marching to the District Council offices in protest, the 30 members of the public allowed into the room, the 5,700 signatures that opposed the new shop and the great presentation by Jill Tomlin, they decided to play it safe and give Costa the go ahead to come to town!
We recognise that it was a David and Goliath fight and that the current policies and regulations make turning down a chain very difficult but we hope this can be a spring board for a bigger, national discussion about Council’s having the power to respond to the wishes of its electorate, to having a greater say in its own planning development and a stronger foundation for the localism act.
For now, here in Totnes, the battle continues. We want to make people aware of the issue and to encourage all visitors and locals to continue supporting the independent, often family run cafe’s and small businesses that make this town special.
Sima Cutting - TTT food group