Coffee shop plans for Warwick antiques centre
Warwick Antique Centre could be turned into a chain coffee shop under plans that have already generated more than 50 objections.
A planning application to change the antiques shop on the corner of High Street and Swan Street in a move which could create six full time jobs.
National chain, Coffee#1 Limited which also has a business in Solihull, said any design would be kept appropriate with the building and historic surroundings.
But neighbours and tea room owners have lodged a total of 51 objections to the contentious plans.
Most complaints were made over the loss of shops and the need to draw visitors in to the historic town centre - not to fill the centre with national chains and coffee shops.
One objector wrote: “We are concerned about the increased number of cafes within the town when retail is what is now needed.
“Tourists are constantly asked where is the shopping centre is and it is diverting them into Leamington.”
Barbara Groves, from Apple Trees Tea Rooms, said after being a resident for more than 40 years, she feels more is needed to improve Warwick.
And more than simply being competition for her family’s business, people need to be encouraged into the town.
“Warwick is a destination town, but coffee shops are not what people come here for,” she said. “I just feel that these types of businesses are not helping bring people in. It is not what people want.”
Officers at Warwick District Council have recommended the plans be approved despite concerns over how the town centre is being used.
A report stated: “It is not considered that the coffee shop will result in the introduction of an unacceptable level of non-shopping uses or prejudice the predominantly retail character of the street.”
The three-storey building has flats on the first and second floors which are not expected to be affected.
The application will be debated by the planning committee in Leamington Town Hall on Tuesday evening.