There are mixed views as a national coffee chain prepares to sign up on premises in a Chester suburb proud of its independent businesses.
The Chronicle understands Costa Coffee is close to striking a deal on the former NatWest bank in Faulkner Street, Hoole, at the corner of Hoole Road although the company has not commented so far.
Many people are concerned at the arrival of another national chain, especially given there are already independent cafés and businesses offering hot drinks such as Deli-Vert, Cafe.com, Little Yellow Pig and Chatwins.
Ian McMullin, general manager of The Bromfield Arms, wrote on the NottingHoole Facebook page: “I do like Costa Coffee. Out of all the big chains, I prefer Costa. I like to treat myself to a nice hazelnut cappuccino every now and again if I’ve been shopping in town or something. But that’s where it should belong.
“There are some great coffee shops in Hoole already, we don’t really need another.”
Dan Jones wrote: “Can’t see anyone from Hoole using it, more likely a passer-by or that sort who likes to arrive everywhere with a skinny vanilla latte. I certainly won’t. Why would you not just sit outside Deli-Vert or Little Yellow Pig?! Hopefully it will encourage more visitors and a market for more, decent independents. Gutted it hasn’t turned out to be the bar/restaurant rumoured.”
Teana Woodward wrote: “Hope that the local cafés are not negatively affected. Personally I think Chester had too many high street franchises like Costa, Starbucks etc with overpriced food and drink. Much prefer the individuality of places like Jaunty goat which makes Chester special and not just another high street where you could be anywhere.”
William Stewart agreed.
He posted: “From a quirky, cool, independent high street of the year to a carbon copy of other high streets. Landlords, you should be ashamed that your rent is detracting from independent businesses setting up. Look to Liverpool and Bold street to see what great independent business can do for an area.”
Well known Lib Dem activist and Hoole resident Mark Williams implored people: “Vote with your feet. Shop local.”
However, some share the views of Maree Holding who wonders if the Costa may generate increased footfall that will benefit the street.
She said: “As a B&B owner, we encourage all our guests to visit Faulkner and Charles Street so sometimes it can be a good thing for them to see something familiar, who knows they may see the Costa sign, pick up a coffee and decide to walk down the street to see what’s on offer!
"Plus I’d rather see the site occupied, not a good advert for the rest of the street in my opinion.”
Rumours have also been circulating that sandwich franchise Subway wants to open up in Hoole.
Neil Denny, Subway regional development agent, responded: “We don’t currently have any fixed plans to open a new Subway store in Hoole, but we are actively looking for franchisees to open stores within the Chester area.”