Caffè Nero breaks into Kentish Town before Starbucks
Coffee chain moves in three doors down from where rival was blocked from opening
23 March, 2017 — By Richard Osley
Coffee wars in Kentish Town Road
CAFFÈ Nero has stolen a march on one of its main rivals by moving into Kentish Town – just three doors from the shop where Starbucks’ plans to open were blocked on planning grounds.
The company is due to become the latest chain to set up in Kentish Town High Road after taking over the former Everbest convenience store, close to the Tube station.
The smoothness with which it is setting up its operation contrasts wildly with the problems faced by Starbucks when it tried to open in the former Best One convenience store last year, ironically just a few doors from the new branch of Nero.
Camden officials blocked Starbucks, a decision which was supported by a planning inspector when the company appealed against the refusal. A raft of objections had been filed at the Town Hall on the basis that the area did not need another coffee shop, and that the mix of retail units in Kentish Town needed to be protected.
The stretch is already home to Costa and Pret A Manger. Unlike Starbucks, Nero has applied for planning permission only to change the aesthetics of the new shop, rather than the use classification.
A Nero spokeswoman told the New Journal: “We trade from over 650 locations across the UK. In the very great majority of these locations, our use has been accepted as falling under retail (A1) use, including several sites within Camden. We do not know why Starbucks did not gain permission. “We are looking forward to bringing our great coffee and service to customers in Kentish Town.”
Camden regeneration chief Councillor Phil Jones said: “The planning department has received a planning application for changes to a shopfront and signage at 335 Kentish Town Road and will be considering that in due course. “The council has no planning powers to decide whether particular retail businesses are allowed to open if there is no change of use involved. “It would be better if we had more ability to manage our town centres in line with community interests. However, the rules on this are set by Whitehall.”
During Starbucks’ attempt to move into Kentish Town last year, ward councillor Jenny Headlam-Wells said that the area needed to be protected from becoming a “failing high street full of coffee shop chains, estate agents and betting shops, as has happened in so many parts of London and in the rest of the UK.”