An application to open one of the UK’s largest Starbucks in Northampton’s Market Square has been approved.
The US chain announced the plans to open a store in a ‘landmark building’ in the market square in March.
And councillors at the Guildhall have now approved an application to open the outlet at the unit currently occupied by the That’s Entertainment music and DVD store.
Concerns had been raised that a planning policy for the Market Square states 80 per cent of the shops should be retail.
With a new Starbucks coupled with the potential for a restaurant on the Abington Street corner, that would fall to 64 per cent.
However, planning officers said the benefits of extra footfall outweighed the negatives.
Stephen Boyes said: “It is noted that whilst there should be a predominance of retailing, additional uses which would add variety and vibrancy to the Market Square should be sought, particularly in instances where the use would operate throughout the day and into the evening.
“The operation of a café here would support the operation of Market Square as a retailing location, as customers would link a visit to the proposed cafe with the surrounding shops and market.
“In addition, the development would also support the town’s evening/night economy.”
Back in July the company said it aimed to open in late September and was looking to create 25 new jobs.
The application shows the ground floor will have the counter and some seating, with extra tables and chairs both upstairs and outside.
The application notes that in 2012 an application for the unit to be converted to a restaurant was thrown out because it would mean a loss of retail on the square.
However, officers said the sale of food and drink at a Starbucks for consumption elsewhere could be classified as retail.
And they concluded that the applications are significantly different.
Mr Boyes said: “In particular, the proposed development would be open during the day, which would support the viability of the Market Square.
“In addition, the inclusion of outdoor seating area would generate activity and interest at street level, which directly addresses one of the criticisms raised by the Inspector during the appeal process. “In addition, this development is of a larger scale than that previously considered and as a result the proposal could not be reasonably accommodated within any of the limited vacant units within the Market Square.”