Costa drive-thru planning departure a boost for local bid?

Costa ‘departure’ a boost for Grampian Furnishers hopes?

PLANS BY HIGH STREET coffee outlet Costa to open a new ‘drive-through’ outlet in Elgin are being hailed as a vote of confidence for the Moray town.

The firm are planning to open what would be a third outlet in the town by taking up a plot next to the KFC on the A96 in the east of Elgin.

Costa has targeted a site close to that chosen by Lossiemouth-based Grampian Furnishers to site their new £3.5million showroom – although that has yet to be cleared by planners with several local objections and the plan would go against current zoned use.

The approval of Costa’s plans for the Riverside Road site will, however, be a boost to Grampian Furnishers as planners accepted it as an exception to planning policies – partly because it would create a “moderate” number of jobs. The Grampian Furnishers plan would create at least 50 new posts.

Welcoming the move was Sarah Medcraf, the chief executive of the Moray Chamber of Commerce, who said: “This is a vote of confidence for Moray business as it shows we live in an attractive place for inward investment – especially when the investment comes from a national chain.

“We are hopeful that this type of investment will encourage local Moray businesses and other inward investors to do the same – although we are aware that business times are rough.”

Grampian Furnishers, who are currently based in the former Regal Cinema in Lossiemouth, are seeking to expand their floor space and attract more customers to the area. Originally founded in 1975 in premises in Elgin’s Lido Close, the business moved to Queen Street in Lossiemouth in 1981 before relocating the cinema across the road in 1986.

Managing Director Royce Clark said when launching his planning bid last year: “We are asking for the Council to look at this as a significant business investment in Moray.

“We wish to retain investment in this region and also attract more spend into the area, this site is the only one that suits our needs in Moray and our preference is to keep the business operational here if it is at all possible.”