When news happens, text KENEWS and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
'Clone town' row over Costa's Ulverston plans
A TRADER says he fears Ulverston could become yet another ‘clone town’ after a coffee giant was given the green light to expand its empire.
Costa Coffee’s application to open a new store in the former Halifax building on the corner of Market Street was unanimously granted by South Lakeland District Council’s Planning Committee.
But many in the town, which prides itself on having a large number of independent retailers, believe the national retailer moving in could be bad news.
As it stands, the only major chains of note in Ulverston are Tesco, the Co-op and Blockbuster, but traders such as Doug Gillam believe the Costa decision could leave the door open for more big chains to move in.
He is the co-owner of Gillam’s Tea-room, less than 100 yards from the Costa site.
“It is another step towards a clone town,” said Mr Gillam, whose family began serving the town back in 1892.
“We get a lot of visitors from all over the UK and Europe and what they like about Ulverston is the amount of independent shops and how it is a distinctive market town.
“The first time I drove through Bowness and saw the Costa Coffee, near the Tesco, I thought: ‘Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter would be turning in their graves.’ We should be supporting local traders rather than allowing money to be flying down the M6 to shareholders.”
But Ralph Spours, chairman of the town’s traders’ association, said in general, it was welcomed.
“Each of the town’s independent cafes seems to have its own loyal following and I rather suspect that Costa would attract a different type of coffee drinker to the town.”
During the planning meeting Coun Janette Jenkinson, an Ulverston coun-cillor, said that she thought it could be ‘good for the town’.
“One comment I have heard was you need trade to encourage trade and I think that is very valid,” she said. But Coun Colin Pickthall said: “It will do a lot of damage to the town.”