Costa Coffee confirms it is looking to move in to town

POSSIBLE BASE: Costa has been linked with the former Shoezone shop on King Street
POSSIBLE BASE: Costa has been linked with the former Shoezone shop on King Street

Independent retailers have voiced concerns after chain store Costa Coffee confirmed it is interested in moving into the town.

A spokesman for the national chain said it is actively searching for premises. However, Wendy Moore from Fresh Basil on Strutt Street said the town already has too many coffee shops and any more will have a negative impact on established locally-run firms.

The firm has been linked with the vacant Shoezone shop on King Street - for which Amber Valley Borough Council is due to consider an application for a change of use on October 13.

More than 180 letters have been received by the authority, many of which state there is too much competition for existing coffee shops.

Ms Moore said: “It goes against Government and local policy to change the use of this shop to a cafe. We will lose our high street’s identity if Costa come in. It’s yet another coffeee shop in Belper - a line has to be drawn-up at some point. Some of the coffee shops are already struggling.”

The chain retailer owns more than 1,600 outlets in the UK and has stores in 29 countries worldwide.

A spokesman for Costa Coffee said: “We are currently evaluating opportunities in the Belper area, but have no firm plans in place at this stage.”