COFFEE shop giant Costa has been granted planning permission to open a cafe in a historic market town.
The coffee chain was given approval by Central Bedfordshire Council on Thursday to open up a shop on the site of the old Barclays bank in Dunstable Street in Ampthill following an application being made to the authority in November.
In response to the application, Central Beds Council received one reply in favour of the shop and eight against prior to the decision being made.
Last year Bedfordshire on Sunday reported that a steamy debate was frothing up in the town between those who were keen for a larger coffee shop to open and those who feared the effect in would have on small independent outlets.
Reacting to the news on Facebook over the weekend, Eveey Petrusic said: "We have seven locally run cafes in Ampthill serving a great variety of lunches, homemade cakes, tea and coffee. Bringing a multi-million pound company into a small market town like Ampthill could have a large effect on these businesses. "We cannot compete with a company like Costa."
Peter Moreton said: "The really good coffee places (Cooks Collection, Cakestand and Crumb etc) will continue to do fine, as they are properly nice places to be. Older, tired-looking tea rooms might struggle, but if they cease then other, new retail outlets will take their place - it's all about change and regeneration and ultimately, freedom of choice."
Anna Bunney added: "I guess it depends on the locals living here if they still go to their fave local cafe or not. I don't think it can beat the Cooks Collection chocolate brownies but it might attract the mums and buggies as there is no space for a herd of them in local cafes at the moment."