Costa Coffee branch 'lacks planning permission'

Costa Coffee
Image caption Bristol City Council says the Costa branch does not have planning permission

A Costa Coffee branch owner could be served with an enforcement notice after opening without planning permission.

The franchise, on Whiteladies Road in Bristol, opened recently in place of a newsagent but requires permission for change of use from retail to a cafe.

Bristol City Council said it planned to serve an order to force the building to be put back in its previous state.

Franchise holder Stuart Montgomery declined to comment while Costa Coffee said it was "aware of the situation".

"[The franchisee is] working with the local authority to regularise the position," said a statement from the cafe chain.

'Breaking the rules'

Mr Montgomery can appeal against the enforcement notice or submit a retrospective planning application.

Angela Raffle, from the local organisation Sustainable Redland, said the cafe was next to many independent stores and could threaten their future.

"People think this is market forces - if the local independent businesses were good at their job they would thrive," she said.

"There are many reasons why the big multiples are breaking the rules and making the game unfair."

Mr Montgomery recently failed to gain planning permission for another Costa Coffee branch on Gloucester Road.

More than 3,000 people signed a petition claiming the cafe would "undermine the viability of independent shops".

Councillors agreed and turned down the plan saying it would be "harmful to the diversity of the local shopping area".

Mr Montgomery also owns Costa franchises on Henleaze Road and in Portishead.

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