Felixstowe coffee bar set to stay open

A NEW coffee bar in Felixstowe town centre is likely to stay open - with community leaders set to go against their policy preventing it trading..

A NEW coffee bar in Felixstowe town centre is likely to stay open - with community leaders set to go against their policy preventing it trading.

Planners are urging a shift to bring the resort in line with other towns in making shopping a leisure experience with comfortable cafes to add to its attractions.

Caffe Nero opened its new branch in Hamilton Road without permission because the stretch between Boots and Bank Corner is designated as a prime shopping area for retail outlets only.

Three years ago, Puccino's coffee bar was forced to close after Suffolk Coastal took action against the outlet in the same situation.

But this time Caffe Nero is set to be allowed to carry on, with the councillors recommended to approve it at a meeting next Thursday.

Felixstowe Town Council is backing the departure from policy, saying: “We believe that a limited number of appropriate day time food outlets are an important part of the quality retail experience that we are trying to promote in Felixstowe.

Most Read

“We believe that the viability and vitality of the retail function of the town centre would be significantly enhanced by a limited number of food outlets, in particular projecting a modern leisure shopping image.”

Planning officer William Shoote said new policies being drawn up were proposing a change to the main town centre to allow a more mixed use, but each case will need to be judged on its own merits and a careful balance maintained to ensure the vitality of the town is retained.

Caffe Nero, which runs 329 town centre outlets, said no evidence had been put forward that coffee shops harm shopping centres.

“On the contrary, the opposite seems to be the case,” said a letter to the council.

“The great majority of councils have never questioned our use, recognising that we present no vitality or amenity issues but rather that we are a high quality, high footfall operator and a key part of the mix in shopping areas around the country.

“Coffee shops form a part of the jigsaw that make up people's minds to visit particular centres.

“The increasing amount of 'shopping as leisure' requires there to be high quality places for shoppers to take a break.”

Should Caffe Nero be allowed to stay? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk