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Mixed reaction to Costa Coffee's plans for North Walsham

PUBLISHED: 15:13 22 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:24 22 January 2018

A front elevation drawing of what the new store could look like, from planning documents available on the North Norfolk District Council website. Image: Copyright Architecture Design Limited

A front elevation drawing of what the new store could look like, from planning documents available on the North Norfolk District Council website. Image: Copyright Architecture Design Limited

Archant

A bid by the UK's largest coffee chain to open a branch in North Walsham has met a mixed reaction in the town.

Scoffs Group, a Costa Coffee franchisee, has applied to convert 35 and 36 Market Place into a new cafe.

But while some residents have praised the move, others feel the Costa could be detrimental to existing businesses.

Natasha Williams, owner of Christopher’s Cafe and Bakery around the corner in Church Street, said: “We’re not particularly happy about it.

“North Walsham doesn’t need more eating places, it needs more shops - something to draw more people in.

“The town is getting bigger but there doesn’t seem to be the footfall needed in the town centre itself.”

Commenting on Facebook, Mike Ashwell said: “Keep Costa Coffee in the city and leave places like North Walsham, Cromer, etc to the friendly local cafes that we know and love.”

Gwennie Nunn said: “A shame when there are enough independent coffee shops in the town who I hope won’t lose trade.”

But others were in favour of the plan.

This building could become North Walsham's newest cafe - a Costa. Image: Google StreetViewThis building could become North Walsham's newest cafe - a Costa. Image: Google StreetView

MORE: Costa Coffee hopes to open new branch in North Walsham

Resident Ian Clark said: “It should bring folk in - plus an old building will be full and restored, to me that’s the real bonus. Parking outside might be a future issue.”

Sarah Greenwood said: “Personally I prefer independent places, but Costa is so popular, people will make a special trip into North Walsham to go there, so more footfall for the other traders.”

And Ruth Wilby said: “I guess if North Walsham wants the busy centre like places such as Dereham or Holt, we have to be open to the idea of chains coming into the empty shops. Any shop is better than an empty shop.”

The premises is next to CD Page Tobacconist and Confectioners, and it used to be the Kitale School Uganda charity shop. Before that, it was an off-licence.

The two address used to be linked by an internal doorway, but Scoffs Group plans to make over the interior to create one large space consisting of a seating area for 26 people and counter section.

The shop would include a wheelchair-accessible toilet and baby change facilities.

The planning documents can be viewed on the North Norfolk District Council website at www.north-norfolk.gov.uk/section/planning, search for PF/18/0009

Do you think North Walsham would benefit from a Costa? Email your views to NNN.Letters@Archant.co.uk

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