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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Starbucks opens 'without consent'
Starbucks logo
Starbucks is trading in Reigate without the correct planning consent
Starbucks has been criticised by a Surrey council for opening a new coffee house without having applied for the correct planning permission.

The company had applied for advertising consent - for new signage and lighting - for a shop in Reigate's High Street.

But it was told by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council that it also needed permission for a change of use for the premises from retail to a coffee shop.

Starbucks only submitted that application after opening for business.

'Total disregard'

The company said in a statement: "We have, as suggested by the council, applied for a retrospective change of use for the premises and will continue to respect and comply with the policies of the planning authority."

But Councillor Adam De Save said Starbucks had shown "total disregard for the planning system".

Starbucks should be keen to nurture a positive impression for its initial step into this borough
Councillor Adam De Save

"The planning department was made aware that Starbucks [had] commenced trading, though the change of use of premises from retail to a coffee shop still requires planning permission.

"I am very disappointed... Starbucks should be keen to nurture a positive impression for its initial step into this borough."

Mr De Save said the retrospective planning application for change of use should be decided on by the end of October.

If it is ultimately refused by the council, enforcement action could be taken against Starbucks, although the company would also have a right of appeal to a planning inspector.

"We need to consider that application before us and decide that on its merits," Mr De Save added.

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