PLANS for a new Costa Coffee store in the car park of a prominent Christchurch eatery have been refused.

Members of Christchurch Borough Council’s planning committee blocked the proposals from the chain to build a unit with drive through facilities outside the Somerford Beefeater.

Officers had recommended the scheme for approval but a series of issues were discussed at length by councillors before they came to their decision.

After several comments were made about traffic concerns, despite no objection from highway authority Dorset County Council, the rejection was given on the grounds of unattractive and inappropriate form of development in its intended setting.

Grange ward councillors Janet Abbott and Denise Jones had both voiced their fears about traffic in the area, however council officer Lynda King said this would be a difficult reason to refuse the scheme given no issues from highways and with a detailed traffic assessment as part of the application.

Cllr David Jones, chairman of the planning committee, highlighted issues with the “standardised” nature of the proposed building.

He also said it was not appropriate in an area which will soon be recognised as the “gateway” into the town

“I do not like the architecture, I do not like the design and I do not like the placement of it. I do not think it is appropriate,” said Cllr David Jones.

The design of the Costa Coffee outlet was described as an “eyesore” by Cllr Peter Hall.

Cllr Denise Jones added: “It is not a fitting accompaniment to the Somerford which had been built to a specific design at that point in time.”

There was support for the scheme from Cllr Vicki Hallam.

“If you look at the whole area there are a number of fast foot chains who all have a very standard building,” said Cllr Hallam.

If the development had been approved, the car park layout would have been reconfigured, with new spaces added but a net loss across the whole site.

The application had only gone to a committee decision after 18 objections were submitted by residents and Cllr David Jones agreed to have it on the agenda.

Councillors have now refused plans for a new coffee shop in their two of their past three meetings after Coffee#1’s proposals in the town centre were turned down in November.