Cappucci-NO: Row brews over city’s first drive-thru coffee shop

The Costa chain has plans for a drive-thru in Corstorphine. Picture: Greg Macvean
The Costa chain has plans for a drive-thru in Corstorphine. Picture: Greg Macvean
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AS FAR as coffee shops go, this one is a little bit different – but that hasn’t stopped a storm of protest from brewing.

Coffee chain Costa has launched plans to open the city’s first drive-thru branch. However, temperatures among residents in Corstorphine have risen higher than a fresh espresso.

They claim the shop would erode the character of one of the Capital’s most historic districts and damage local business.

Members of Corstorphine Community Council have lodged an objection against Costa’s application, insisting that a growing number of cafes is already hurting independent traders.

The drive-thru would be located at Corstorphine Retail Park, just yards from a McDonald’s restaurant and a Tesco superstore which contains its own Costa.

The row follows controversy over a recent decision by city planners to give Costa permission to open the 58th coffee shop in a one-mile stretch of road in Morningside.

David Salton, of Corstorphine Community Council, said: “There are too many food outlets in the immediate vicinity.

“There will be only a few hundred yards between the Costa cafe in Tesco and the drive-thru. There’s also a McDonald’s virtually next door. That led us to take the view that there are sufficient food outlets in the area and that this proposal would represent over-provision.”

Mr Salton also raised fears that the opening would have a detrimental impact on businesses in nearby St John’s Road.

He said: “We would sooner have independent cafes operating [there], which is the heart of the community.”

Local traders also voiced anger at Costa’s proposal, which has still to be approved by city planning chiefs.

David Robb, 51, owner of Rumblin Tum cafe in Corstorphine, said: “To bring in another outlet that will feed off the limited business that’s here is cutting our throats.

“Tesco opened down there and you have a Sainsbury’s express store and a Scotmid. Those places have really killed the local traders. The big multinationals suck the life blood out of the community.

“In St John’s Road, there are 14 vehicles which serve food and drink, either for sit-in or take away. If you take the surrounding streets, there are another 15 outlets.

“You start to look at Corstorphine and it’s now becoming a village full of eating places, hairdressers and charity shops. There’s very little else now. We need to have diversity for people coming into the area.”

He added: “I can see that the public will want Costa but the same people will be shouting when they see smaller businesses in the area starting to close.”

Joanna Dunsmuir, 50, owner of the Original Coffee Bean cafe, said: “I do not see the need for another one if there’s one in Tesco. It will be another big chain causing little shops problems.”

A council spokeswoman said: “We are currently assessing the application and all of the comments received will be taken into consideration.”

No-one at Costa was available for comment last night.