Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Ipswich Borough Council to terminate Snobs Coffee: increases the Ipswich unemployment count

Probably the biggest hot debate topic in Ipswich right now is Ipswich Borough Council’s decision to virtually evict Snobs Coffee from the Town Hall.

At Snobs Coffee our aim is to create the highest quality espresso in the county. No fuss, no extras-just milk and beans. We are currently taking residence inside the Ipswich Town Hall and when we can, we are seen at events and festivals throughout Suffolk.
People need coffee: from students studying for exams to those people needing a hit to give them the urge and reason to go to work after a long weekend. For festivals, for daily pleasure or for no reason at all, Snobs Coffee is there to give you flavour, the hit, the joy and the passion.

Suffolk has always been a county of producers, so why look elsewhere for our ingredients? At Snobs Coffee we grind only locally roasted coffee and steam only locally farmed milk, bringing you an exceptional coffee from this side of the border. This means we can work closely with other small businesses to bring you the highest quality coffee in Suffolk.

Never leave a cup half empty. Always leave satisfied.

Snobs Coffee is the public cafe based in Gallery One at the Town Hall (up the steps; straight forward) created by an Princes Trust enterprise started by local entrepreneurs Abigail Curtis and Stephanie Larkin.

It didn’t seem that long ago since this temporary pop-up cafe was made permanent due to the sustainable success it created from pretty much an unloved little-used public space right in the heart of the town centre. 

Little did Abigail and Stephanie know, that Ipswich Borough Council was using them to determine whether or not they could tender out the space for a commercial lease to make bucket-loads of money, from right under their noses.

Yes this ‘permanent’ cafe was no longer so much permanent. A rent increase of triple effectively forced them out. By no means was this some small school work experience project, the cafe is a much welcomed, loved and appreciated public space; that is a proper registered business: “Snobs Coffee LLP“.

Not only did Snobs Coffee make great use of effectively an empty space in the middle of town, they created a quirky venture without any of that personality-less clinical profiteering nonsense – a symptom of all large coffee shop chains – and even some of the smaller slowly growing chains in the UK right now.

The reality none of us wanted to be reminded of:-

To all of our wonderful costumers,

It is with deep sadness that I am writing this status but it is only fair to let you all know what is going on. As of the 14th of September Snobs Coffee will be closing its doors for the last time. We are hanging up our milk jugs, turning off our grinders and saying farewell.

Two years ago we sat around a table and decided to start our own mobile coffee business, not in our wildest dreams could we have ever imagined Snobs would grow to what it is today. Over the past year in the Town Hall I have had to good fortune to meet and work with so many inspirational and talented people, it has been an incredible experience. Ipswich, you have welcomed us into your hearts and your community and we will forever be humbled for the support.

In true Snobs style we plan to go out with a bang, so watch this space for detail.
From the bottom of my coffee cup, thank you.

Not to forget it was actually decent coffee and a nice quiet (except with performances, but thats good) relaxing environment, ironically 30-50 meters away from probably the noisiest part of town!

Political debate

Of course, as soon as Snobs Coffee revealed they are shutting, this create mass-panic and upset across the town. The council responded:-

Town Hall Café-bar

Ipswich Borough Council is currently looking for a business to run a catering service in the public café within the Town Hall. It is an exciting opportunity, ideal for a small or individual business that is keen to make itself known.

The café is in an ideal location on the busy and bustling Cornhill, providing a relaxing and quiet retreat for families, workers and students alike but still retaining the advantage of being in the heart of Ipswich town centre.

A three-year lease is available and the Council is seeking rental offers through application by Sunday 11th August, with an expected start of October 2013.

If you are interested in getting your catering business fully established in the hub of Ipswich, contact wendy.simmonds@ipswich.gov.uk for information and an application form.

Despite 6 trading weeks left of their tenancy the council decided to remove Snobs Coffee from their website and advertise for their replacement. This hasn’t stopped or interfered with trade though as regular and new customers alike kept turning up.  People are so upset and want to support an independent coffee shop it might even have become good for business – although we cannot confirm this.

The notice of the tender is fair enough – but just because Snobs Coffee have released a statement saying they wont be bidding for the new lease – the council had no right to remove them as a residency before they had even left.

This strengthens the argument that the council wanted this pop-up to permanent cafe gone.

The council has promised no coffee chains taking up the cafe… but now that Snobs Coffee has released a statement that they are going and potentially no other interested parties… the council could still compromise with a coffee chain or similar (perhaps uppercrust etc.) will take the place.


Not only will this terminate the cafe in Gallery One, Ipswich Town Hall, and the company Snobs Coffee LLP; there are job losses coming from this and probably resulting in signing on – that only means the mandatory use of Universal Jobmatch, where its close to impossible to get a job.

Ipswich Unemployed Action. Perhaps if you have a spare few minutes, just pop in to the Town Hall, perhaps buy a coffee and try and organise a petition of some sort. Alternatively, pop down the buttermarket and do a sitting protest on both Costa Coffee and Starbucks (only joking…. )

13 Responses

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  1. Personally I do not have the money to spend on coffee shops in the first place.

    I imagine most unemployed people are the same.

    Andrew Coates

    August 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    • Yeah, despite many places serving glorified dishwater at extortionate prices, coffee is still a luxury item; many of which unemployed and even low income families in work, cannot afford.

      The general point of this post was to highlight how the council is pushing out a small enterprise that created employment during recession in the town and now will result in unemployment. Although granted the end bit sounds a bit like an advertisement – I have no vested business or social interest regarding that business or family ties with the owners.

      The main concern for me is it appears IBC is spending double the price of this annual lease income (double it (approx £16k) is about £32k) on Business Development this tax year. This will have a knock on effect with employment levels in the town… (or more to the point unemployment count)

      The process was a mess, the tender was quietly mentioned (only recently promoted on their website) and it appears although they already have a big name interested. To make a representation on a planning permission application you need to reveal your personal information such as your home address, to stay permanently on record… to tender for a lease, the council is refusing to reveal who (if any) has applied for it. I am sure they will in due course.

      The final straw for me is this pop-up cafe was only a compromise to the Waitrose store that occupies approx 80% of the Corn Exchange building. It was a sweetener to keep the public from rioting due to the selling of public space for commercial enterprise. People wanted a cafe and they allowed one to be created elsewhere. They now want to bring in the cash to help balance the books created due to Conservatives cuts.

      Universal Jobmatch

      August 9, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      • The cafe was Judy Terry’s idea (former Tory chief of Culture).

        I do not know the details of this story.

        We do not exactly lack cafes in Ipswich!

        As I said, I do not imagine many unemployed people use any such cafes.

        Andrew Coates

        August 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm

  2. What the fuck has this got to do with JOBSEEKER rights you on wrong site this ain’t for you to advertising your event fuck off to facebook for that twas don’t waste peoples time here


    August 9, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    • they are making TWO people unemployed, mate 🙂

      F!"£ the Council

      August 10, 2013 at 4:57 pm

  3. Who gives two hoots they telling you to piss off gusse what WE TELLING YOU TO FCK OFF TO THIS SITE IS FOR JOBSEEKERS NO TO PROMOTE COFFEE GET MESSAGE FCK OFF


    August 9, 2013 at 3:45 pm

  4. Reblogged this on A Riverside View.

    Kevin Algar

    August 10, 2013 at 8:02 am

  5. Paul I have certainly not heard a single person talk about this.

    If anybody was seriously worried about job loses in Ipswich and Suffolk they’d start from what the Tory County Council has done to its remaining care homes: sold them off to a private equity company.

    6th March.

    ” A group of opposition councillors are now asking how the business, Care UK, was chosen to take control of Suffolk’s 16 council-owned care homes.

    The £10,000 donation made to Mr Ruffley’s Bury St Edmunds constituency association in November 2009 by Caroline Nash – wife of John Nash who was chairman of Care UK at the time – is listed on the House of Commons Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

    The county council’s Conservative Group says it knew nothing of the donation, and both the Conservative party and the county council have stressed they have not breached any rules.”
    “Care UK’s private equity owners stand to make a considerable amount of money by selling care home sites it has bought, such as Angel Court in the middle of Hadleigh, and from its three-and-a-half year contract to provide beds for Suffolk’s vulnerable older people. The questions we would like answered are how many other donations have there been and why did the Conservative council choose Care UK?”


    At present Union reps are worried about staff and pay cuts as well as the kind of ‘contracts’ for staff known as zero-hour.

    Andrew Coates

    August 10, 2013 at 9:28 am

  6. Someone shows innitative by starting a small business, makes a go of it and the location popular and then the bloody council swoop in because they smell a profit.

    Just goes to show you, no good deed goes unpunished.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    August 10, 2013 at 10:43 am

  7. One to watch:

    Benefits Britain 1949 – Channel 4 9:00pm Monday 12th August.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    August 10, 2013 at 10:54 am

  8. What’s the betting that the vacated space will soon be filled by a CostaPacket or Starfucks? Councils are c!”£$s

    F!"£ the Council

    August 10, 2013 at 4:55 pm

  9. Latest news on the Town Hall cafe catering tender. Snobs Coffee replacement has been found.

    Congratulations to Realise Futures – a local social enterprise with a catering division who provides paid employment, training and work experience to people with disabilities or disadvantages who want to work in the catering industry and offer full support throughout their time with the enterprise.

    Realise Futures catering currently provides 2 Ipswich cafes – Room 1 in UCS and the St Lawrence Centre; a cafe in Bury St Edmunds and Felixstowe libraries and even a cafe in the Anglo Saxon village. Realise Futures are a worthy contender unlike any major coffee shop and unlike any medium sized local company, small independent businesses or entrepreneurs who applied for the tender, its a social enterprise with social values and suitable for the town hall.

    This will begin towards the end of September.

    Find out more about them at realisefutures.org – official Ipswich Borough Council confirmation and statement is pending.

    IBC Spokesperson

    August 22, 2013 at 9:16 am

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