Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The Church of Life After Shopping vs Starbucks, St James's Street

The public inquiry into Starbucks' appeal over local planners refusal to grant them planning permission for the firm's unlawful coffee shop on St James's Street takes place this week at Brighton Town Hall.

After seeking permission to open, being refused and opening anyway, after Brighton planners accepted the Green principal that a chain-store logo on a sign just couldn't be 'interesting' and therefore shouldn't be allowed in a conservation area, and after weekly demonstrations highlighting these issues - and others, the final battle will be fought tomorrow, Thursday and Friday.

Myself and fellow Green councillor Rachel Fryer will be attending the hearing, which starts at 10am tomorrow, after a short demonstration outside Brighton Council's historic HQ. Rachel is set to give evidence, arguing that the store's presence has pushed rents up in the area - and threatens the viability of local businesses.

We'll see what happens, but I fear we'll be stuck with Starbucks in St James's Street whatever happens: rumour has it that, anticipating being ordered to close, the chain has already bought up another empty shop (the former John's Camping Store on the other side of the road) and is prepared to start the process all over again.

Anyway, I'll post again on this when there's more to report. Meanwhile, here's a short film of the Church of Life After Shopping's Reverend Billy visiting the store last week. I hope you enjoy it.

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