Starbucks have opened without planning permission on St James’s Street in the Kemp Town (my) area of Brighton, and against the wishes of hundreds of residents and traders.
Every Saturday from 12 noon there is a protest outside Starbucks by kindly folk with placards and megaphones. This has been going since it opened in May, but still Starbucks continues to bully the neighbourhood and council, and flaunt the planning laws. If you want to add your voice to the protest, there is a Facebook group (currently with over 1700 members).
The main issue here is not so much that Brighton is gaining a seventh Starbucks – some might argue it will be good for St James’s Street – but the heavy handed way they are doing it. Running roughshod over local planning laws is not a particularly endearing quality. Local planning laws are currently trying to encourage retail properties rather than restaurants and cafés. Starbucks has just lodged an appeal against the rejection of planning permission by claiming it is not a café, but in fact a shop. It is this kind of heavy-handed distortion that locals are complaining about.
Starbucks’s modus operandi in situations like this is said be to put the competition out of business. The best way to help prevent this is to patronise the competition, so if you’re in Brighton, why not support a local business and have a cuppa in a truly local coffee shop. There’s plenty to choose from (particular favourites are emphasized):
St James’s Street Cafés
- Red Roaster Coffee House, 1d St James’s Street
- The Izzy Cafe, 2 St James’s Street
- Bona Foodie Deli, 21 St James’s Street
- Polski Smaki, 36 St James’s Street
- The Tin Drum, 43 St James’s Street
- Desination 100, 100 St James’s Street
- The Street Coffee Bar, 101 St James’s Street
- Halo Halo Internet Cafe, 106 St James’s Street
- The Cherry Tree, 107 St James’s Street
- Strength Coffee Bar, 111 St James’s Street
- Options Deli Café, 117 St James’s Street
- Café Bella, 120 St James’s Street
- Gossip Cafe, St James’s Street
- Tea Cosy, 3 George Street
- Figaro, 13 George Street
- Bom-Banes, 24 George Street
- Yummy Stuff, 44 George Street
Update – Starbucks Served Notice
Following a council meeting last week, this branch of Starbucks has been ordered to stop selling drinks and food which can be consumed on the premises. They have also been ordered to remove all tables and chairs to restore the shop to its use as a retail outlet. The order means customers will have to take away their food and drink.
Councillor Lynda Hyde, who chairs the planning committee, said:
We are responding to local concerns and making it clear we will not tolerate planning regulations being flouted in this way. Our planning team has been monitoring the operation since and it is clear sales of food and drink for consumption on the premises form a considerable part of the business, in breach of planning consent.”