Costa Coffee boss rejects Mayor’s plea

Costa plans to open a coffee outlet at Ripon's former Bon Marche site.
Costa plans to open a coffee outlet at Ripon's former Bon Marche site.

Costa Coffee’s managing director has rejected the Mayor of Ripon’s pleas for them not to open an outlet in the city.

Costa boss Christopher Rogers replied to a letter sent by Mayor of Ripon Coun Andrew Williams confirming the company’s plans to open up one of their coffee chains in Ripon in spring – despite the council’s objections.

“I am not satisfied with the response,” Coun Williams told the Gazette. “Costa Coffee will not do anything to enhance the city, although I accept the argument it will fill empty premises.”

Coun Williams originally wrote to Mr Rogers last month inviting him to reconsider Costa’s planning application, which was approved by Harrogate Borough Council in October.

Coun Williams also urged Mr Rogers to consider the ‘No to Costa Coffee’ petition launched by café owners in the city which boasts over 2,000 signatures. Coun Williams sent his original letter after the council voted in favour of supporting the campaign.

In his reply, Mr Rogers said: “Our experience is that branded chains and independent coffee shops can happily co-exist, as is already happening with the existing Caffè Nero.

“Our offer is predominantly drink-led (some 80 per cent of our sales) and so we do not see ourselves to be a direct threat to existing local coffee shop businesses which have a far broader and considerably more comprehensive offer.”

Mr Rogers added that the store opening has gained the support of the Greater Ripon Improvement Partnership (GRIP) and that comparisons could not be drawn between Ripon and Totnes, where campaigners blocked a store from opening in the Devon town in October.

“We see a significant difference between the two towns,” said Mr Rogers.

“Ripon has welcomed a number of national brands into its high street over the years, such as Dorothy Perkins, Boots, Caffè Nero and Greggs.”

Mr Rogers also added that Costa will be taking over another retailer’s spot as it moves into the old Bonmarché site on Fishergate.

Coun Williams has replied to Mr Rogers asking on behalf of Ripon City Council what the chain plans to do to assist the development of the city.