Wednesday, 6 March 2013

No to Costa Coffee in Margate?

There was an article in last week's Thanet Gazette regarding the possibility of a Costa Coffee taking the place of the Post Office in the Edwardian building it has resided in for a century in Cecil Square. 
Brighton-based businessman Peter McDonnell, chairman of Margate FC's Ryman League rivals Whitehawk, is behind the redevelopment. His company, KSD Properties, which turned over almost £10 million last year, has planning permission for nine flats above the office.
The fact this grand listed building recently was sold by the Council at auction for just £361,000 is bad enough. Losing the central Post Office from this location is also of grave concern. But that corporate coffee giant, Costa Coffee could be the future occupant has so far on social media, not been a welcome suggestion.

I covered Thanet Council's ill judged planning application to convert to flats and build a house overlooking the mosque 
 on this blog back in March last year.

Margate's shopping areas are struggling to survive. Its independent shops, cafe and bars are our crucial to the local economy. I don't need to quote the well known stats about how vastly greater amounts of the money spent in local independents stays within the local economy as opposed to disappearing out to distant corporate shareholders. Or that Margate is home to a growing number of high quality coffee shops that pay a decent wage, pay their taxes and who buy ethically sourced coffee and local produce?

Margate fan, Mary Portas herself said she was pleased to hear that Costa had listened to the good people of Totnes with their No to Costa campaign and backed off from opening an outlet there. And we know Mary strongly believes in local independent shops. 

I do hope that we don't have to start a No to Costa in Margate campaign to go with the No Tesco in Arlington, No Tesco at Westgate...

The new owner of the Post Office building at Cecil Square bagsied himself a bargain. Hopefully we won't see anything open that will cost the community further.

Perhaps we can get Chas'n'Dave to do a:

'Down to Margate, you can keep the Costa Coffee, I’m telling ya mate I’d rather have a day down Margate with all me family'


  1. A shame about the post office and we really don't need a bloomin Costa Coffee to replace it, but I can see why a developer snapped up this lovely building for £361,000.

    A snip at the price!

  2. You need to be relistic about uses for this building, its not a small shop in the old town and there are very few viable uses for it. How many independents could afford to set up a business in this building? Rather a large gamble and not even the town teams £100k sitting in their back pocket would cover it. So I think the choice is either a non retail conversion or a hospitality multiple and if a British tax paying chain wants to come in then so be it.
    I dont think Margate can afford the luxury that an already regenerated Totnes (with its 41 coffee serving shops) can in turning down any business that wants to set up.

  3. Isn't it time our planning department commissioned a proper shopping demand survey and adopted a sensible policy, or is this asking too much.

  4. Maybe we can just have yet another large boarded up building instead of a major chain investing in a very struggling town.

    Beggars can't be choosers.

  5. Much as I do not really want a Costa - overpriced and characterless its better than having yet another derelict building. People have a choice where they go and "take coffee" and can choose if they patronise or not.

  6. who cares what goes there it brings income in to the town ? it's like people at Manston Airport we all moan nothing is done for the town but a few people want to live in the past two choices move to a desert just sand >

  7. It's good to hear that more people are becoming aware of why Costa Coffee may be bad for the local economy of small towns. One comment (above on this blog) is that a derelict building will be occupied. However the reality is that at least one and maybe more small independent coffee shops will close as a result of Costa's arrival. So people will lose jobs, other premises will become empty and other local suppliers will lose income because small independent coffee shops tend to source their supplies from other local businesses (butchers, veg stores, milk, electrical equipment etc). Costa buys nothing locally and I doubt whether they use local tradesmen for repairs, maintenance and so on. So please carry on saying "no" to Costa's unrelenting expansion into small towns, petrol stations, book stores and so on.

  8. Hi John,

    You raise the key issues on the difference between large chains and independents in terms of their wider impact on the local economy. The post office building isn't empty though. The post office is still running there, as it has done for 100+ years and it will now look to relocate.

    1. Thanks for correcting this. I just wanted to add that I speak from personal experience. My wife and I own a small cafe/bistro in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. The arrival of Costa coffee here in a large high street unit is, I think, having the exact negative impact on the local economy as I have described. On a related issue the recent arrival of WH Smith's has resulted in the closure of a small/independent book shop. People continue to complain about the loss of this long established book shop. A beguiling irony was that just before they closed one of the shop assistants stood there relating how they would have to close [because of WH Smith's arrival]. In her hand... a take away Costa Coffee cup...

  9. Bring on Costa Coffee...It might make the local rubbish traders sit up and learn!!!

  10. £361,000 for a building thats going to be converted into NINE flats AND a retail business? TDC should be ashamed of themselves.

  11. I am trying hard to understand the logic of a system that destroys local environments... and I am sorry to say that a big issue here with all of this is the contribution made to the big profits of non-local businesses by local people... we locals do not shop local often enough... mainly cos we cannot afford to, most of us are so stretched financially that we rely on the big supermarkets... the Costa thing is different cos we have uber lovely cafes in Margate serving great coffee. And lets remember we are not 'up there' with Totnes, which has more money 'floating'.