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Planners save at-risk coffee shop

Bid to convert popular Cricks Corner into a home is rejected by Town Hall officials

15 January, 2021 — By Dan Carrier

Tom Koszel: ‘It is a real relief because we want to stick around for years and years’

A COFFEE shop threatened with closure is raising its cups in celebration this week after learning a bid by the building’s owner to convert the cafe into a home has been thrown at the Town Hall.

Cricks Corner in Dartmouth Park Hill opened five years ago and took the name Cricks Corner from a “ghost” sign on the building.

It was a moniker used in the 1940s by owner Albert Crick, who ran a second-hand bookshop and lending library.

But despite its success – Cricks is so popular queues form along Dartmouth Park Hill each morning in normal times – its future was threatened when the plans were lodged to use the ground floor to expand a first floor flat.

But planners ruled this week that the designs would harm a historic corner site that has had a shop for more than 100 years – and that closing the business was an “unacceptable and unjustifiable loss.”

The coffee shop has a lease running until 2026 and it hopes to be there for longer, said owner Tom Koszel.

He added: “It is a real relief because we want to stick around for years and years. The news has really has raised our spirits.”

He thanked customers for their help, adding: “We do not always hear positive feedback, and then a situation like this is created, and you realise people are looking out for us.

“We do not know the final number of objections that there were, but we do know there was an incredible amount of submissions from customers, neighbours and people who can see – and want to protect – the value of a shop like ours.

“That is massively encouraging and we cannot say thank-you enough to the people who said to us keep on doing what you are doing. We are just incredibly grateful.”

Cricks has enjoyed rave reviews for its menu – with The Times restaurant critic Giles Coren praising the bagels, doughnuts and sandwiches.

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