STARBUCKS’ controversial plans for a drive-thru on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park have been recommended for approval.

The coffee multinational  could move into a new cafe beside the A38 on the Dolbeare Meadow Business Park in Ashburton if planners back the proposals on Friday when the Dartmoor National Park Authority’s development management committeewill consider the scheme.

The plans are for five flexible non-retail business units, one electric vehicle charge park with café building and drive-thru facilities.

The plans are recommended to be given the go-ahead by officers.

But local traders are campaigning against the plans for the Starbucks drive-thru and the planning authority has received 70 letters of objection.

Recommending the scheme should go ahead the report to the committee says: ‘Local concern about the impact of this development, particularly the café use, on the town centre is recognised.

‘However Ashburton has a vibrant mix of independent traders offering a wide range of goods and services in an attractive historic town centre, and a strong case has been presented to show that this proposal will attract new customers to thetown with its modern and accessible alternative offering, rather than compete with the town centre.’

‘The site is within easy walking distance of existing residential developments, is located on an existing bus route, provides cycle parking and an EV charge park.

‘The proposal is therefore considered to present a sustainable form of development.’

But traders have been campaigning about the drive-thru aspect of the plans.

A campaign to oppose it has been launched by the Ashburton Chamber of Trade. 

Lydia Wood, publicity officer for the chamber, says: ‘We have no objection to the business units and in fact welcome them as a much needed asset to Ashburton. 

‘Many buildings in the town centre are historic and development space is limited. 

‘The proposed units will brings industry and employment to the area, allowing businesses to grow and expandwhilst not having to leave Ashburton and move to bigger cities. 

‘However we cannot support the application on the grounds of the proposed “electric vehicle charge park withcafe building and drive-thru facilities”.