Green Party Cabot Ward candidate Ani Stafford-Townsend has handed a 360 person strong petition to Bristol City Council, opposing a proposed Starbucks on Old City's Wine Street.
Independent cafes in Old City had become concerned about the planning application, fearing that a Starbucks would draw customers away from them, threatening the area's strong tradition of independent retail. Ani, herself an independent retailer in nearby Broadmead, started online and paper petitions to rally opposition to the move.
The planning application  would change the use of a unit on the ground floor of Vintry House, Wine Street, from betting office (Use Class A2) to mixed Class A1/A3 coffee shop (Sui generis). It has attracted over 20 written objections since notification being issued on 17th November.
Tameka Mortimer, a member of staff at independent coffee house The Birdcage, said,
"What will happen to the independent cafes on Corn Street, especially ones taking Bristol Pounds? Starbucks will draw trade away from the lower end entirely, and devastate businesses like The Birdcage"
Ani Stafford-Townsend, Green Party Cabot Ward candidate, said, "Independent businesses are the key to ensuring a sustainable economy. They pay their taxes, they create more jobs, and the money they generate stays mostly within the local economy. Corporates like Starbucks are infamous for tax dodging, reduce employment in the area, and redirect local money into shareholders' pockets. I will be fighting to protect independent business in Old City"
Darren Hall, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Bristol West, said,
"It is fantastic that Bristol’s cafe culture is really starting to thrive, with local independent traders offering customers a distinctive experience with a great cup of fair trade coffee, locally sourced pastries and a warm welcome. Or people can go to a familiar global chain. On the one hand people argue that we should simply let customers decide, but on the other hand we can take the view that someone needs to be fighting to help create a level playing field for the locals, who are up against huge marketing budgets, mass purchasing power, lower sustainability standards and massive profits on which they pay little or no tax"
1. Planning application 14/05084/F can be viewed online here http://bit.ly/1qzoSiH