Following a vigorous campaign by locals and a High Court challenge by Stroud resident Michael Lloyd, the  board of NHS Gloucestershire voted to continue to run community health services, including eight community hospitals, nine health clinics, served by 3,000 staff. They rejected the alternative option of a tender process, which would have opened the door for private firms to bid to takeover services.

On Thursday, many newspapers reported another successful campaign. Costa Coffee had been granted planning approval to build one of their shops on Fore Street in Totnes, a town which values its independent retailers and has one of the lowest percentages of branded stores of any town of its size in the UK, very few empty shop fronts, and 41 independent coffee outlets.

Storm of protest: Costa Coffee was forced to pull out of Totnes, pictured, after residents in the town fought to preserve its independence

Say No To Costa spent three months petitioning against the planned coffee shop, approved by South Hams District Council, which was due to take one of the larger retail spaces in the town.

However, after the petition opposing the move attracted more than 5,000 signatures, Costa Coffee decided to pull out.

The success of these campaigners should hearten others seeking better decision-making in their area.