Page last updated at 16:42 GMT, Saturday, 31 May 2008 17:42 UK

Demo over 'no approval' Starbucks

Starbucks cups
Starbucks said it had appealed the council's decision

A group of protestors have staged a demonstration outside a coffee shop which opened despite its owners failure to get planning permission.

The Starbucks store in St James's Street, Brighton, opened last week after appealing against the city council's refusal.

About 50 people attended the peaceful protest, which was organised through an online social networking site.

A Starbucks spokesman said the company was exercising "its right" to appeal.

Lizzie Beane, one of the protest organisers, said: "Starbucks has opened up their coffee shop even though their planning permission for the premises to be changed from retail to a cafe or restaurant has been turned down."

We're standing against clone town Britain
Protester Lizzie Beane

The campaigners are worried that if too many chain stores open in the area rents will increase, making it more difficult for independent retailers.

"It's different and it's quirky here. I don't think anybody would come to Brighton and think 'I went to a really nice Starbucks today'," Ms Beane said.

"We're standing against clone town Britain."

There are 12 other cafes in the St James's Street area and five Starbucks coffee shops in Brighton and Hove.

'Positive contribution'

Phil Broad, managing director of Starbucks Coffee Company in the UK and Ireland, said: "Following receipt of refusal of planning permission from Brighton & Hove City Council and having considered all the options available, we have decided to exercise our right of appeal to the planning inspectorate."

He said the shop would provide 14 jobs and its performance in the first week had been "encouraging".

"It's incredibly important to us that we're sensitive to the communities where we introduce the Starbucks experience and we are committed to finding ways that we can positively contribute to life in those areas," Mr Broad added.

The protesters are planning to hold a vigil outside Starbucks every Saturday to promote alternative coffee shops.

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30 Apr 08 |  Business
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