A new fast food restaurant is set to open on Brighton seafront, leaving many independent shop owners worried about the changes this will make to their livelihoods.
Burger King is due to open a second city centre branch in Kings Road in April. Works to refit the site have started already, which was previously Taste, next door to Buddies 24-hour diner.
Concerns have been raised that it may have a negative impact on independent chip shops and cafes on the seafront.
The new franchise will be run by the same franchisees who run the the city’s existing North Road branch of the fast food chain – but it is not connected to controversial plans for a Burger King on the corner of East Street.
Theo Benedyk of commercial property agents Lewis Craig said they were “delighted” to have secured the deal on the 7,280 square foot site.
“We have been talking to Burger King for some time. Burger King now has the keys and work has started.”
Planning permission to change the use of the site from a restaurant to a late night fast food restaurant has been granted. However the plans made no mention of the name of the proposed restaurant. Only one objection to the plan was received, from neighbouring businessman Colin Burt, of the Rock Shop.
My Burt said: “Brighton is renowned for its small independent shops and restaurants. Allowing Burger King to the seafront will mean the end to everything we have at the moment.
“Trading is becoming harder but, until now, I expected to survive and be there in 20 years time. Taking the area from 39 Kings Road to 57 Kings Road we have four chip shops which employ around 30 people but will really struggle and will probably close. Then there is Buddies, again a small independent restaurant, but they will have no chance with a cheap fast food restaurant next door. Another 20 jobs gone.”
Mr Burt urged the council to refuse the application and “keep the Brighton tradition of small independent shops and restaurants and not allow this planning application”.
We spoke to some locals who live by the proposed site about their feelings towards the burger chain’s opening on the seafront.
“It’s a shame because there’s some lovely places along here that need the attention and customers more than Burger King does. It will just mean that the rowdiness associated with West St will spill out to here.”
“I know that the building was a bit of a state, all boarded up and that, but I can think of so many better uses for it than Burger King. There’s absolutely nothing special or interesting about it”
Plans for another Burger King in the former the Ancient Mariner pub proposed in 2015 sparked furious objections and a 12,0000 signature petition supported against the plans which were then shelved.