STARBUCKS will open a new town centre store – despite fears it could take business away from independent coffee shops.
Having opened its first Worthing branch in Broadwater in August, the chain will open a second in South Street, after gaining planning permission.
Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee voted in favour of the proposal last Wednesday but councillor Edward Crouch had concerns, refusing to support the chain.
He said: “I felt the committee were awestruck by a big brand and failed to take account of the possible negative impact on local traders.
“How could I look small independents in the eye and say I voted for Starbucks?”
Town centre manager Sharon Clarke welcomed the news, as Starbucks was one of the major brands often requested by shoppers.
She said: “Obviously, although Worthing has got a great independent coffee shop offer, some people do prefer the brands.
“I think Starbucks aim at a different market. I think it will affect the other brands, rather than the independents.
“It’s all about choice. From a Worthing point of view, it’s great to see a brand name investing in the town.”
The store will be run by the same owners as the Broadwater branch – local businessmen Simon Coates and Michael Bradley.
Mr Coates said: “The approval for a second store in Worthing is great news for us and the local community, adding 20 more jobs and increased investment in the high street.
“Our first store in Broadwater has had a fantastic reception - the meeting room is regularly booked and it’s great to see families enjoying the space.”
The Worthing vacancy rate could drop to around five per cent, from seven per cent, by Christmas, if vacant unit take-up continues steadily and numerous traders do not go out of business in the meantime.
Mrs Clarke said the Starbucks unit had been a temporary operation for three years and it was a positive move to see the brand investing in it, bringing it up to scratch externally.