Vegetarian café is on way despite objections

A NEW vegetarian coffee shop will open in Worthing town centre.

Gemma Early’s application to change the use of a retail unit in Bath Place to A3 café and restaurant use was unanimously approved by Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee last week.

There were 55 objections to the application and three Worthing business owners spoke at the meeting.

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Mike Corrigan, who owns Park Life, said: “I object to the application on the grounds of proliferation of cafés in Worthing.

“The outcome will have a significant impact on my business and the ten people I employ and I urge you to consider all the objections.

“The saturation of cafés and other food outlets selling food products is high and should stop at some point. There are 48 cafés in the Town Centre Initiative Scheme and numerous stores selling refreshments, bars and eateries.”

Anthony Dickinson, owner of Feast, said: “We have been in Warwick Street for eight years and opened before the likes of Greggs and Subway so we have seen a lot of changes since we have been there which have directly affected our turnover. We have managed to survive by being flexible and changing our menu, but survival sums up the situation. I do not feel that anyone is really looking out for the small and independent businesses in the town and I do not feel that the council has a balanced and healthy idea of the town.”

Paul O’Brien, owner of Candy Love, said: “I am very passionate about the town centre and its regeneration and hate the idea of empty shops in the town, but I do not think the granting of another A3 use is right in this case. There are 131 places to eat or have lunch in the town centre compared to 259 retail shops.

“With a population of 104,000 people that means there is one eatery per 707 people, compared to one per 1,200 people in Brighton.”

Applicant Gemma Early said: “Worthing has a very limited choice of purely vegetarian eateries whereas in Brighton there are many more to choose from.

“I have been a vegetarian since I was eight and the business is based on using fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers from the garden. My aim will be to offer unusual flavour combinations which are not widely available at the moment. I believe what I can bring to Bath Place will be different and offer an exciting choice not just for vegetarians but for everyone.”

Councillor Michael Cloake said: “I do not see any reason why we should turn down this application and it has my full support.”

Councillor Carol Molineaux said: “Although we have many coffee shops I think this is quite different and, hopefully, it will help other businesses.”