A CAFE owner in Christchurch has urged the council to avoid letting another coffee shop open in the town centre.

Mike Ismail, director and owner of Baggies Coffee House, has launched a petition calling for the refusal of plans to open Coffee #1 at the former Shoe Zone store on High Street.

The shop has been vacant for over a year, but Mr Ismail claims the town is already inundated with too many food outlets.

In a letter objecting to the plans, which have been submitted to Christchurch Borough Council's planning department, Mr Ismail identifies 28 food outlets currently in the town centre, without including Waitrose and M&S.

The business owner, who has run the High Street cafe for six years, says over time customer attitudes have changed and the variety of shops to attract visitors has diminished.

"I have made a petition to object to the plans for another coffee shop in Christchurch," Mr Ismail said.

"To have this many food businesses in a town of this size is a crazy situation."

Mr Ismail has put his own establishment up for sale and said there are currently seven businesses listed on the market online, highlighting the struggle facing many operators in Christchurch.

"I'm going around the small businesses in the town to see what their view is on the issue," he added.

"The council do not understand how we are suffering.

"I work every single day bar Christmas Day and New Year's Day to keep my business running.

"The council knows businesses are struggling, but there does not seem to be anything being done to support us."

A statement submitted by planning consultants Boyer on behalf of Coffee #1 says: "The proposal would improve the vitality and viability of the town centre by utilising a currently vacant unit, re-introduce an element (approximately 40 per cent) of retail use into the primary frontage and create activity and vibrancy in this part of the High Street.”