‘Let’s get on with it’ - coffee shop plan for Trumps wins support

Trumps in Fore Street. Ref shs 4857-36-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Trumps in Fore Street. Ref shs 4857-36-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Proposals that would see a 200-year-old building, described as a ‘feature of Sidmouth’, converted into a coffee shop have been backed by the town council.

Plans put forward by Coffee#1 for former grocers Trumps would see the ground floor refitted to create a café seating around 80 people.

The Fore Street property has sat vacant since September last year. At a meeting of Sidmouth Town Council last week, members were pleased to see a plan for the empty shop.

Last Wednesday’s talks heard that the coffee chain was proposing ‘very minor’ changes to the front of the property and the bricking up of two side windows.

Councillor John Rayson said: “It would be lovely to see this shop occupied again. The application is sensitive to a Grade II listed building.

“It seems the applicant has bent over backwards to keep the building as it is. The sooner this is occupied again the better.”

Cllr Ian McKenzie-Edwards added: “I think we have to be thankful that the company that is taking this on is maintaining the shop front as is.

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“Trumps is very much a feature of Sidmouth - this almost falls in to the same category of building as SES. The outcome for the premises should be our prime concern.”

Cllr Marc Kilsbie added: “The sooner it is done the better. Let’s get on with it.”

Town clerk Christopher Holland said correspondence received from agents representing the building’s owners said the property had been ‘left in an advanced state of dilapidation by former tenants’.

The letter said the owners had tried to attract other grocers, delicatessens and restaurants to take on the property.

“But unfortunately the ground floor area is smaller than their minimum requirements,” said the letter.

“And the scale of expenditure required to carry out a new shop fitting exercise has proved beyond the scope of small independents.”

Members voted unanimously in support of the plans.

A decision on the application will be made by East Devon District Council.

A spokesperson for Coffee#1 said: “Whilst the majority have welcomed our store openings, we appreciate that on occasion there can be some local resistance.

“Coffee#1 always works within the local planning framework and actively solicits feedback from the communities in which we operate.”