The end of the cappuccino chain?

Landmark planning decision marks caffeine conglomerate's card

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A landmark planning decision has seen one of the capital's biggest coffee chains banned from a High Street. The ruling, which denied Costa Coffee permission to open another shop adding to their 400 strong national chain, could pave the way for other councils to impose tighter planning regulations on other coffee houses.

It will come as no surprise to Chiswickians that the coffee shop sector is the most rapidly expanding sector after mobile phones.  Although we are yet to see Costa Coffee move in, it is estimated that there are more than 70 places to buy a cup of coffee in Chiswick. 

This cappuccino counter attack is nothing new, some time ago locals were convinced that Starbucks was taking over the High Road and its supply of caffeine. The American coffee giant, who makes no bones about their policy to ‘cluster’ their coffee houses with the aim to put the local man out of business, tactics are so well known they have been the butt of jokes in such illustrious productions like the Simpsons and Austin Powers!

And it's not just Chiswick that is less than enamoured of coffee chains, Primrose Hill locals successfully rejected plans for Starbucks to open in their ‘village’ because, like Chiswick, they do have high rents but wanted to support their local traders.

Residents are now voicing their support for their local traders at such a level, it most makes it difficult for the councils and their planning departments to ignore.  At the beginning of the year, Barnet Council refused planning permission for a new Tesco Express store to open in Finchley on the grounds that the store would affect the "vitality and viability" of local shops.

The Office of Fair Trading recently gave supermarkets giants Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons, a final warning over their high street dominance following mounting pressure from MPs concerned about their local shops.  The supermarkets stand accused of 'killing off' local shops through aggressive expansion following a report carried out by an all-party parliamentary group which warned that small shops could be wiped out by 2015. asked Hounslow Council to comment on whether the two planning decisions (made by other councils) would have any bearing on our own High Road.  We are awaiting their response.

March 30, 2006