THE only surviving newsagent in the centre of Totton is set to close and become a Costa Coffee.

The couple who run Not Just News in Totton shopping precinct have been told that their lease is not being renewed by their landlords the National Australia Group.

It comes just weeks after the Daily Echo revealed that Costa Coffee is also planning to open a drive-thru facility in the town.

The application coincides with proposals to build a McDonald’s restaurant in Commercial Road and a KFC outlet at the bottom of Spicer’s Hill.

Today the chairman of the town council claimed that Totton’s character was changing for the worse.

Councillor Neville Penman said: “I’m disappointed that we’re losing another independent retailer – too many sites are being snapped up by multi-nationals.

“Costa Coffee are planning to open an outlet beside the Rushington roundabout and I can’t see why they want one in the precinct as well. We’ve got too many coffee shops in the town already. Totton stood still for many years. It’s changing now, but not in the right way.”

Not Just News – formerly Martins – has been selling newspapers and other products since the precinct opened in the 1960s.

A notice in the window says: “It is with much regret that we will be closing Not Just News on January 6. The landlords have decided not to renew our lease and intend to redevelop two units for a coffee operator.

“May we take this opportunity to thank all of our customers who have given us such wonderful support over the years.”

A Not Just News spokesman, who declined to be named, said it was the only remaining newsagent in that part of Totton. She added: “There were four when we took over 19 years ago and we’re the only ones left. The nearest other newsagents are in the High Street and Rumbridge Street.

“Our customers are very disappointed that we’re closing and we’re very disappointed that we’re having to give up.”

The National Australia Group said it wanted to create a larger corner unit by combining two of the existing premises. It claimed the scheme would improve the overall impact of the shopping centre “for the benefit of all”.

Totton councillor David Harrison said: “It’s sad to lose yet another small independent retailer but a lot of people will welcome Costa Coffee.”

The neighbouring unit is occupied by Clapham Eyecare. A spokesman stressed the business was staying open but might move “ten-15 yards” to new premises.

A Costa Coffee spokesman was unavailable for comment.