COSTA coffee shops are a common sight on high streets up and down the country.
But for villagers in Stubbington, plans for the chain to open there have sparked protests.
They fear that it would destroy the local feel to the high street and have a major impact on other businesses.
Now they have launched a petition calling for Premier Coffee Ltd, the firm behind Costa, to withdraw its bid to open.
Sharon Baker, from Stubbington, runs The Bakers nearby and said the arrival of a chain could be the death knell for her business.
The 53-year-old said: ‘This is a village and we want to keep it that way. I’ve been here eight years and I love it – it’s a real community.
‘People tip their hat to you and say “good morning” when they pass by you, that’s how much of a community it is.
‘It’s a beautiful village and we don’t want it turning into a town.’
Mrs Baker said the traders all pitch in and raise money through the year to fund the Christmas decorations and events on the green, which she fears a national company would not contribute to.
As previously reported, the Co-operative supermarket put in a planning application to split the former Budgens shop unit into two, with a smaller unit in the side, which has been earmarked for Costa.
A planning application has been submitted to Fareham Borough Council to operate a coffee shop from part of 41 to 45 Stubbington Green from 7am until 7.30pm Monday to Friday and from 8am until 4.30pm on Sundays.
A spokesman from Costa confirmed it did have a site under offer in the villages.
She said: ‘As the UK’s favourite coffee shop and one of the success stories on the UK high street, we work closely with planning departments across the country to open new stores for the benefit of their local communities, creating new jobs and providing attractive and popular social meeting places.
‘We are evaluating opportunities in Stubbington, but have no firm plans in place at this stage.’
County councillor Christopher Wood said he was appalled at the plan and he said he would fight against it.
Cllr Wood said: ‘I’m absolutely disgusted by this proposal.
‘Traders in the village will be ruined by Costa opening up. Everyone I have spoken to have been against the idea. It will change the village beyond recognition, and not in a good way.’
It’s not the first chain to open in Stubbington, as residents were unhappy when a Domino’s pizza opened last year in place of an independent Chinese restaurant.
To view the application go to Fareham Borough Council’s planning portal and search application number P/14/0147/CU.
People have until March 19 to comment on the plans.