Mixed views as Costa moves in on independent high street

A high street coffee chain is set to open a new branch in Hove by the middle of May.

Wednesday, 5th April 2017, 2:52 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:41 am
Marcus Williams and Lee Brown, owners of The Boys café SUS-170504-133451001

Costa Coffee, owned by Whitbread and the largest coffee chain in the UK, already has several branches in Brighton and central Hove.

This week it announced a new shop next to Sainsbury’s on Portland Road.

However, this will be the first of its kind to open up on this street, which is heavily populated with independently run businesses.

Jullian Preston-Powers, owner of Intenso

Andrew Morrish, of Cradick Retail which let the unit said: “This has been a pretty badly kept secret, but all the legal formalities have now been completed.”

Aside from ‘Local’ versions of two of the big supermarket chains Sainsbury’s and Co-op, Portland Road has been largely untouched by high street names.

News of the imminent arrival of Costa Coffee has been met with mixed reactions from nearby traders and residents.

Businessman Jullian Preston-Powers, 51, who owns Intenso Café on the corner of Hogarth Road, said: “I feel good about Costa’s arrival. I wish the whole street was coffee shops.

The unit set to be occupied by Costa SUS-170504-133424001

“If this whole road was coffee shops, there would be a culture of cafés which I encourage, because when you create a coffee culture you would have everyone gravitating to the area.”

Sarah Parker, owner of the Good Food Shop, Brighton on Portland Road is of a similar opinion and believes the chain will bring new business to the area.

However, café owners Marcus Williams, 44, and Lee Brown, 50, run The Boys opposite The Stoneham pub and say they are ‘absolutely gutted’ to hear of Costa’s imminent arrival.

“We chose this road because it’s full of independent shops and we thought it would be left alone by all the big boys,” explains Marcus

“There are 16 cafés on this road but everyone does something different, there’s no competition, it is really neighbourly and we just don’t think a big player belongs on Portland Road.”

Diane McQuillan, 44, of Portland Avenue, works at Eternal of Hove, opposite the unit Costa will occupy.

She said: “It’s good having the independents, don’t get me wrong, but I’d rather see someone there than have empty units, it regenerates the area.

“Costa will hopefully spark further interest from other business to come to Portland Road and generate more footfall at the same time.”