Eastbourne campaigners ‘very pleased’ with Costa plans changing

Campaigners are celebrating the withdrawal of a plan to open a new coffee shop in Eastbourne railway station.
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They say they are very pleased that the plans for Costa Coffee coming to the station’s former ticket office, which would have been the fourth branch for the town, have now been dropped – and say that ‘as a community, people can make a difference’.

A spokesperson from Costa said, “We can confirm that we are not progressing with the site at this time as we are currently reviewing plans on a site-by-site basis.”

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Don Foster set up a petition against the plans which gained nearly 2,000 signatures.

He also said he obtained support from the mayor, councillor Steve Wallis, CEO of the Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce Christina Ewbank and Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell. Don said they all made individual representations to Costa.

Don said, “Costa saw fit not to reply to my letter, and those of some of petitioners, but the main thing is that they changed their mind about moving into the Terminus.

“I think that Costa must have recognised that there was a significant number of people against them moving into the station and with the support of the three key people above we made the right impact on their decision making.

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“This was, in effect, a community effort so we can all be very pleased that the people of Eastbourne, with the help of our Mayor, the Chamber of Commerce and our MP, made a difference.

“That’s a nice positive message to start 2021 with.”

Isabella Friedman owns Bella’s Cafe, which would have been right next door to the new Costa.

On the official campaigning page it said, “This move threatens the very existence of Bella’s, a cafe that has survived rail strikes, austerity, and a Covid lockdown and is now faced with overwhelming opposition.”

Speaking after the plans were scrapped, Isabella said, “Our reaction is simply one of profound gratitude to our customers who took it upon themselves to raise awareness about the issue.

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“The general public response was frankly overwhelming and humbling especially since it came at times when everyone had so much to worry about already.

“We hope to be able to serve our customers and our community as best we can through these tough times and beyond, because we truly love what we do and the difference we can make.”

Councillor Steve Wallis said, “Although I have nothing against Costa Coffee, they are already well established in a number of sites around Eastbourne, and to open a new cafe, so close to an existing Costa site as well as next door to an independent coffee shop was excessive.

“I am pleased that the chain has now withdrawn plans and I thank all those campaigners in the town who raised awareness, signed the petition or continued to support the existing established railway station coffee shop.”