Protesters have given a Starbucks coffee shop a roasting for opening without planning permission. Here, two campaigners, Jon Barrenechea and Green city councillor Ben Duncan, share their views on why Brighton should be the last place something like this could happen.

Anti-Starbucks campaigner Jon Barrenechea started a group on social networking website Facebook to drum up support for the campaign to stop the coffee giant opening another shop.

He said: "When you think of Brighton, what springs to mind: the Pavilion, the Palace Pier, The Lanes?

"When a visitor returns home after a weekend in Brighton, they won't be telling all their friends about a great little Starbucks they discovered!

"Look at all the tourist information that our council provides.

In all the brochures there's not one picture of a chain business to be seen and that's because they know that visitors to our lovely city seek out our famous independent businesses.

"The locally owned restaurants, cafes and unique boutiques, which make our city such a great place to live and desirable destination to visit.

"St James's Street in Kemp Town plays an important role in our city with a collection of popular and renowned coffee bars, restaurants, shops and pubs, as well as an annual carnival and a genuine village feeling with a strong sense of community.

"Some claim that because St James's Street already has some chain stores that one more won't make a difference.

"Well, Western Road, at one point, was full of locally owned businesses all putting money back into the local community.

"Slowly, the chain supermarkets, cafes and stores took over, raising rents and making it virtually impossible for anyone other than more chains to open.

"We mustn't let that happen on St James's Street.

"Regardless of what your opinion on the matter is, Starbucks have been refused planning permission by the council.

"However, they have decided to open and start trading anyway, exploiting the lax enforcement policy of the council when it comes to large companies with big pockets. According to some of the local independent businesses, it does seem to be one rule for Starbucks and another for the rest of us.

"The principal legal issue is that yet another coffee shop on St James's Street would be against the local plan, which explicitly says that the area needs to have a predominance of A1 stores ie retail, rather than A3 which are cafes and restaurants.

"Nearly 500 letters of objection to their application were sent to the planning department and the Facebook group Stop Starbucks Opening on St James's Street now has more than 1,400 members, including local residents and business owners.

"This is not about denying consumers choice but about protecting our high streets and not losing that which makes our lovely city unique.

"The council has spoken and so have the local community.

Starbucks should listen. Join us in letting them know our views on Saturday May 31 at 11am at a demonstration outside Starbucks on St James's Street."

Ben Duncan, Green Party councillor for Queen's Park, Brighton, said: "A lot of the arguments against Starbucks have centred on the way they do business.

"I oppose the chain opening on St James's Street chiefly because I believe in customer choice, the rule of law and the planning process, however weak and flawed it may be, and most important of all, local democracy.

"Firstly, take customer choice. There are currently some 12 coffee shops on St James's Street - many more in the surrounding area. Every time a new store opens, trade falls a little in each existing store.

"Add to this that, with the introduction of Starbucks, rents will rise and the inevitable result is that local independent traders are forced to close, reducing consumer choice every time, until all that's left is Starbucks. If people want to drink a Starbucks coffee now, there are six other outlets in the city selling it.

"Secondly, the rule of law.

Whatever you think the right decision should be, council planners have turned the application down, arguing that opening a new coffee outlet would shift the balance from shops to cafes in a conservation area, contrary to the planning policies democratically adopted by the council.

"So I think the council was right to turn down their application - and I hope the government inspectors agree, and listen to local people when they make their final decision."

Do you think Starbucks were wrong to open the coffee shop in St James's Street?