The Mayor of Ripon has told a ‘No to Costa Coffee’ campaign group it is doubtful local people would rally together to fight the chain opening an outlet in the city.
Coun Andrew Williams was speaking at a public meeting held on Monday at the Wakeman’s Café to discuss the Costa Coffee planning application, which has been approved by Harrogate Borough Council .
Attended by 14 people, the Mayor told the gathered traders and residents he has “significant doubts that five or six weeks before Christmas people will rally against this”.
Coun Williams added that the apathy of people in Ripon – what he dubbed “Ripathy” – would prevent the campaign repeating the success of a similar crusade in Totnes, Devon. Campaigners there persuaded Costa to drop plans to open in the town following a petition signed by 5,749 people and supported by the town’s mayor and MP.
Coun Williams reminded those at the meeting of the empty shops littering the city centre – including the old Bonmarché site on Fishergate, where Costa plans to open up.
“We want to push Ripon as a place to come and visit and for business to open here,” he said.
But Janet Hudson, part- owner of the Wakeman’s, warned if campaigners don’t act quickly it will be too late to stop the plans. “We have to get as many people on board as possible,” said the 44-year-old who started the ‘No to Costa Coffee’ petition two weeks ago with fellow owner Julie Sweeney. “This should be about Ripon against Costa Coffee – not a café against Costa Coffee.”
lThe petition is online at: www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/chris-rogers-managing-director-costa-coffee-stop-costa-opening-in-ripon.