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COMMENT: Costa right to be opposed by local community

Posted on Thursday, 25 October by

A book called ‘Real England: The Battle Against the Bland’ by Paul Kingsnorth was my main read over summer. It’s a look at how ‘globalisation’ affects England specifically. He travels around the nation looking at pubs, canals, shops, farms and much more. It was published in 2009 and reading it three years later when the issues highlighted just seem to have escalated was very interesting. The book made quite the impact, even David Cameron has quoted it during a speech or two!

Today a rarity has occurred. The large coffee chain Costa has pulled out of opening up a joint in the small town of Totnes in Devon. Even though planning was approved, Costa Coffee has given its full attention to the 5,000 signatures on the petition that opposes then opening. Totnes prides itself upon its independent retailers and services and its citizens are standing their ground on the matter.

While it’s important to note Costa is one of the more reasonable and responsible big businesses out there, it’s also vital to highlight that in Devon alone Costa already boasts 19 stores. On the brighter side it employs 200 people and sources local produce. Regardless, any large chain is a substantial threat to the local and independent retailer.

While Totnes is lucky to have fended off Costa so easily it should hope that Tesco doesn’t decide to feast upon it because I don’t think they’ll have as much luck fending off that juggernaut. The independent businesses, whilst becoming more and more rare in our high streets, are the glue that drives communities all over England and beyond.

I think if we can continue to fight and support out smaller independent traders we will have a brighter future ahead of us in regards to food production, the local economy and a renewed sense of community.

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