Residents in a town which successfully blocked plans for a Costa Coffee have launched a new campaign – to bring it back.
The international cafe chain abandoned its plans for a new outlet in Totnes, Devon, after local traders launched a campaign against it.
More than 5,700 people signed a ‘Say No’ petition and following the public outcry Costa agreed to shelves its plans.
The anti-campaign started because Totnes prides itself on a wide range of locally-owned shops – and already has 41 independent coffee shops.
But now members of a new group ”Take Back Totnes” are calling for Costa Coffee to re-consider – claiming the firm was “bullied out of town”.
Spokesman Matt Trant, 21, said the group had been in touch with the coffee chain and told if it can get a strong campaign started it might still open a branch in the town.
Matt said: ”We have been contacted by Costa Coffee and told that if we could get up another petition of more than 6,000 signatures they would reconsider.
”Costa was one of the best chains and they were bullied out of town. They would have been paying rent and rates and twelve local people would have been working there.
”Now the message is that Totnes is closed for business to other national chains and a lot of young people can’t afford to shop in the independent shops.
”The ‘Say No’ campaign made out the majority of the town were against Costa but it was a minority.
”The problems with petitions is they are often signed by people more than once and by those who don’t really know what’s going on.”
Costa was granted planning permission to open a branch by South Hams District Council on August 1.
The firm’s planned 70-seat cafe was due to open in the town’s High Street but Costa pulled out on October 25.
The town, which has a population of 8,336, produced a petition of almost 6,000 signatures and held protest marches and meetings.