‘Too many cafes’ for Co-op to build another in Peak District tourist site

The plan to turn part of a large cooperative supermarket into a cooperative run cafe has sparked outrage among residents of a town in the Peak District.

A planning document for the Market Street store, Bakewell, was submitted to the Peak District National Park Authority and opened for public comment in December.

He says the new cafe would be formed from a section of the current supermarket.

As part of the formation of the new accessible cafe, a new storefront and entrance to the cafe would be required, along with outdoor seating.

The proposals have been the subject of criticism from community members on social media.

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Commenting on the public ‘Bakewell and surrounding villages’ Facebook page, one person said:’ Like we needed another, over 40 places to grab a cup of coffee, not counting the pubs.

A petition put together by Bakewell Petitions states that ‘Bakewell is known to be a historic market town, we DON’T need or want to be like every other high street in the UK.

In a letter attached to the planning document, a resident expresses concerns about the effect the cafe will have on local businesses.

His letter reads: “There is a cafe right in front of the front door of the co-op called the Upstairs Café, it has been established for 25 years. The cafe has really struggled to stay open during the pandemic and employs at least twelve people.

“The loss of custom that could result if the cooperative continues could be the last nail in the coffin.

“There are already sixteen cafes in Bakewell and there is little need for another.”

Some residents have defended the supermarket chain. Olly Driscoll said on Facebook: “It looks good and will bring in more jobs and clean up that shabby looking corner of Bakewell.”

Another local defended the proposal. She said: “I don’t see the problem because Bakewell is full of cafes anyway, mostly for tourists. They’re just trying to keep their business going after Aldi and Covid.”

Others praised the accessible nature of the cafe, pointing out that Bakewell’s other cafes are “too small or are upstairs.”

A decision date is set for early February, with the public comment period ending Monday, January 24.

The public can comment on the planning document which can be found on the Peak District online planning portal.

You can also find a link to the petition here.

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Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement