THE fight against a controversial drive-thru coffee shop near homes shows the power of the people, if they are prepared to work together and 'don't give up'.

Residents have spoken for the first time about how they were able to work together to defeat plans for a Starbucks drive-thru at the Elgar Retail Park in Blackpole in Worcester.

The scheme was unanimously rejected by Worcester City Council's planning committee last month after Matt Brown, 61, of Salters Close spoke against the proposal at Worcester Guildhall.

He said: "I just think it's a good example of how we all interacted together, as local residents. We collated all the information that was needed. It was a team effort.

"And without Jill (Cllr Desayrah), I don't think it would have worked quite so well. It proves if you work with your councillor - and we have a dedicated councillor, dedicated to residents - it really does work."

TEAMWORK: Cllr Jill Desayrah and Matt Brown worked together to represent residents against the Starbucks drive thru application TEAMWORK: Cllr Jill Desayrah and Matt Brown worked together to represent residents against the Starbucks drive thru application (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Brown said he tried 'not to overegg the problem and exaggerate' when he spoke against the application. "I wanted to be honest so it was a fair fight," he said.

Cllr Jill Desayrah said: "This result shows what can be achieved when residents work together."

Norman James, also of Salters Close, said he helped pull together a dossier of evidence against the Starbucks application but described Mr Brown as 'the driving force'.

He said: "The issue did bring the community together. I think this shows the power of the community's voice because of the research we had done and the community's concern.

"There has to be come respect for the residential amenity for residents that live adjacent to retail parks. You can achieve things if you put your mind to it and don't give up."

Mr James said he helped show how the application would contribute to existing traffic problems in Blackpole Road, particularly for people exiting Masons Drive and, to some extent, felt he was also representing other residents.

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The proposal was rejected on the basis of 'poor design and layout' which would result in conflict with cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles within the park itself.

Cllr Desayrah, the Labour city councillor for Warndon and Elbury Park, called in the application so it had to be discussed by the committee and also spoke against it.

Concerns from residents centred on fears it would attract antisocial behaviour, noise and cause traffic congestion on Blackpole Road and parking problems on nearby residential streets.