More than 500 people have already signed a petition opposing the creation of a new coffee house in the Co-operative food store, on Market Street, with many objectors claiming that the Peak District tourism hot spot doesn’t need any more cafes.
The food store will host Insomnia Coffee Company as part of a £1.5million investment in the location.
John Redfern has run the Upstairs Cafe and Gift shop, located directly opposite the store, for 22 years.
He said: “We’re all small businesses, we’re all struggling in these Covid times and another coffee shop in town threatens all of us.
“We’ve seen three or four coffee shops close in the last year in Bakewell and the thought of another one opening just makes us all worried.”
The petition was launched by ‘Bakewell Petitions’ after the Co-op submitted a planning application to the Peak District National Park Authority for a proposed alteration to the building, including a new shop front, entrance door and external seating area.
The supermarket chain doesn’t require planning permission to host a cafe, and plans to forge ahead with the coffee shop regardless of the local outcry.
Bakewell Co-op store manager Wayne Ingham said: “The society has been looking into the best way to utilise space at our Bakewell food store to improve the offer available to our customers and members for some time.
“Therefore, I am really pleased to have Insomnia on board to deliver a high-quality café within the store, offering fantastic Fairtrade coffee and a great selection of sandwiches, cakes and snacks, which will really enhance the in-store experience.”
Central England Co-operative declined to comment on the petition.
Work is expected to start on the cafe in the coming weeks.