Use it or lose it!

SIR - Re: Sale of Old Ship. I can fully understand if Roger Newton feels the need to sell his business.

He has a very busy life and probably wants a slightly quieter one! But to sell the Old Ship, an historical old pub, housed in a beautiful old building, so that it can become a Costa Coffee house is very upsetting.

Once again, the wants of the local people are being ignored - business people know that, once a big chain gets hold of premises, they never return to the hands of local people. If they are sold on, it’s only to other big corporations.

Hugo Swire is so right - use it or lose it.

As fairly regular users of this pub, my husband, daughter and I are hopping mad that one of our favourite local watering holes is being replaced by something that we don’t need - yet another coffee shop.

Sidmouth already has a good selection of these - from Baraza at the top of the town, down to the newest cafe in town, the Pea Green Boat. All these are small, privately-owned businesses and are well-supported by locals and tourists alike.

Costa Coffee houses already exist in Honiton and Exeter. We certainly have no need for one here. Is it too late for locals to get together to talk this through, perhaps come up with an alternative idea - would it be possible to get a consortium together to buy and run this lovely old pub?

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Surely we don’t need yet another large corporation taking over one of our small businesses.

Jo and Martin Johnstone

Temple Cottage, Temple Street, Sidmouth