CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new coffee shop in Pershore’s High Street have been given the green light despite objections from business owners.

Wychavon District Council’s planning committee approved the plans for the South-West chain Coffee #1 to open a new outlet in the former Ezee PC’S shop at a meeting on Thursday.

The application has faced fierce opposition from other traders in the town, who gathered 1,032 signatures on a petition opposing it, but the committee said it could not find any reason to object on planning grounds.

Committee members also approved listed building consent to carry out alterations to the shop front, a single storey extension with new external seating area along with a replacement fascia sign at 12 High Street.

Despite objections from some retail outlets in the town, business owner Robin Elt, of Robin Elt Shoes, spoke in support of the plans.

He said: “We feel greatly in support of this application. “Traders should not be afraid of competition. It will raise their game and will enhance the environment of Pershore totally.”

Pershore ward councillor Charles Tucker said: “This has obviously been a contentious issue with the town as is any new business coming into the town which could be competition with existing businesses.

“I hope existing traders will not look at it as a threat to their business but an opportunity to look again at what they provide as a benefit to the town as a whole.

“I don’t feel we have reason on planning grounds to turn this down. “I don’t think it will be detrimental to the town.” Councillor David Brotheridge, also of Pershore ward, said the application had divided public opinion with other similar businesses just a stone’s throw away.

“It will not enhance the High Street but will have a detrimental effect,” he said. “This proposal will increase the amount of non-retail units.”

The coffee shop intends to open between 8am and 6pm from Monday to Saturday and from 9am until 5pm on Sundays.

It plans to employ 10 full-time staff and 10 part-time employees.